To clarify, I am asking if the following two scenarios are essentially equivalent from the legal perspective of signing an employment contract. I suspect I may be splitting hairs, but am curious nonetheless.

Usual scenario: I print the contract on paper, I sign using a pen, I give a copy to the relevant company representative (and sometime later receive a copy of the contract with the company signature added).

Proposed scenario: I sign the contract using software (such as PDF Annotator), print the 'signed' document and give the printout to the relevant company representative (and presumably receive a copy of the signed document later).

There is nothing contentious involved nor any question about my intent to agree to terms. This would be using either California or Michigan law in the USA. The purpose is to simplify my life from a paperwork perspective.

This is not about electronic signatures but about whether a signed (on the computer) and printed document is as valid as a printed and signed document.

(The only relevant question I could find is Is a touch screen signature considered an electronic signature?, but this is asking if such a signature is an electronic signature, which it is not.)

  • 1
    Relative is in the process of buying a house. He had lots of documents as PDF files and needed help to sign them - by writing his name on a large piece of paper, scanning it through my computer's camera, and inserting it into the PDF files. Without printing the PDF files, just sending them to the lawyer handling the sale. I'm not sure how much this PDF file could be manipulated with standard software. I pasted the signature into the file, moved it to the place where it was expected ("Sellers signature", not "Buyers signature") and made it a bit smaller to make it fit.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 15, 2023 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


Those two situations should be legally equivalent. The key thing is that you intend to agree to the contract, and are taking physical steps that are intended to manifest your agreement.

If you had added an electronic signature to the PDF file, and transmitted this to the company, it should also be legally equivalent, and just as binding as the pen and paper method.

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