Fortunately, it is relatively easy to create an electronic copy of your signature. If you have a scanner, it can be done without paying for any expensive software.
First, sign your name on a blank piece of paper. I suggest using a black pen that is not fine point. A bolder line will make things easier in the long run and ensure a clearer scan. I chose to have mine scanned as a pdf file.
Then, open the file in Adobe Reader, and draw a selection box around your signature. Right click on it, and choose copy.
Next, open Paint.net. Paint.net is another great open source program you can get for free here. Then, paste in your signature.
In Paint.net, choose the magic wand tool and set the flood mode to contiguous.
Then, left click on the white space surrounding the ink lines that make up your signature. It should turn blue. Now hit the delete key, and you should be left with something that looks like this:
The checkered background indicates areas that are transparent. By having the white space around your name be transparent, you can then place it on a line in a document and still see the line through your signature. In short, it makes it look like you actually signed the document:
Now, open the image menu and choose re-size. I like to re-size signatures so that the height is 1". This will reduce the width proportionally. Now, just save the file as a .png, which allows for transparent spaces, and you are all set. You now have a file with your signature, ready to insert.
In future posts, we will discuss how to insert it into Word documents as well as to turn it into an Adobe stamp.