How to Make a Transparent Signature: Step-by-Step

James Lintzer |

Electronic signatures help streamline workflows and accelerate business proceedings. But uploading an e-signature into a document can look awkward and unnatural if it has a solid background. 

That’s why you need transparent signatures. Learn more about what these e-signatures are and how to make them with the steps below. 

What is a Transparent Signature?

A transparent signature is a saved image of your signature that has no background.

Suppose you signed your name on a piece of paper and took a picture of it to use when signing PDFs, or perhaps you created a signature on your computer or iPhone and saved it to use again. Either way, the signature usually has two components — the actual signature and a white background.

A transparent signature only has the writing — no background, white or otherwise. 

Benefits of Using a Transparent Signature

Imagine what your signature looks like when you sign on a physical piece of paper. Do some letters cross over the signature line, like a ‘p’ or ‘g’? Do some lines or curves go outside the given signature space? That’s normal and natural. 

But if the picture of your signature has a white background surrounding those letters, it might cover up the signature line and nearby text. You could resize the image to make everything fit on the signature line or within the given box, but then it’ll look unnatural and unprofessional. 

Another issue with resizing the image with white background is that not all whites are the same. The color around your signature might not match the file, especially if you’re trying to sign a scanned document that has a gray or off-white color. 

The bottom line is that a signature with a solid background can look unprofessional and out of place — which is the last thing you want when signing medical papers, contracts, or lease agreements.

A transparent signature fixes these issues. With no background, the signature looks more natural. It fits in perfectly with the document, even if your name has letters that cross the signature line.  

JPG vs. PNG: Does it Matter?

Yes, it does matter — here’s a short explanation. A PNG supports transparency, while a JPG doesn’t. That means if you save your signature as a JPG, it’ll have a solid background — usually white. So when you paste it into a document, there will be a solid white rectangle around your writing. 

However, if you save your signature as a PNG, that background becomes transparent. If you’ve ever seen an image file with a gray and white checkered background, that’s a PNG. The pattern shows that the image has no background. So wherever you place the signature, the text or color of the document will replace that checkered pattern. 

How to Manually Make a Transparent Signature 

There are several ways to create and save a transparent signature. If you want your e-signature to look exactly like your written one, you can make a transparent signature manually. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sign your name on a blank piece of paper
  2. Scan the signature using a physical scanner or an app on your phone or tablet
  3. The image has a background (whatever color the paper was), so remove it with a tool like Preview, Gimp or Photoshop
  4. Save the image as a PNG file — not a JPG, since a JPG will just fill the newly removed background with a solid color
  5. Insert the transparent signature into the document you need to sign

The issue with this manual process is step number three — removing the background. Some background removal software costs money (like Photoshop), and others require skill and finesse to effectively remove the surrounding area. 

Free online solutions might work well for removing the background around solid items — like a person — but a signature is a bit different. You don’t want to remove just the color around the letters but also the area within the letters’ shapes and loops. 

It might take a few tries to remove the entire background, or you might only be able to eliminate the area around the signature. There are other options, though.

How to Make a Transparent Signature With Google Drawings

Another option that doesn’t require masterful editing skills is using Google Draw. Here’s how it works:

  1. Log in to your Google account
  2. Open your Google Drive
  3. Click on the “New” button on the left-hand side
  4. Select the last option, “More”, then choose “Google Drawings”
  5. On the toolbar at the top of the page, find the line icon
  6. Click on the arrow next to the line and choose the last option, “Scribble”
  7. Use your mouse or trackpad to draw your signature on the document
  8. Download your signature by going to “File” and then clicking on “Download”
  9. Select the PNG option, and the file will automatically save in your computer’s download folder
  10. Go to the document you want to sign and insert the PNG image

Google Drawings can be an easier option than manually creating a signature since the document already has a checkered background, meaning there’s no background you need to remove. Just remember to download the final product as a PNG, not a JPG, and you can skip the tricky background removal step.

However, it’s not a flawless process. When signing your name in Google Drawings, it might not track every line in your signature. You might end up with gaps in the writing. You can either go back and fill them in or leave them as-is, but both options result in a slightly unnatural signature. 

How to Make a Transparent Signature With jSign

A simpler option is the e-signature tool jSign. There’s no need to remove backgrounds or understand whether a PNG or JPG is the right download choice. Just follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your jSign account
  2. Upload the document you need to sign
  3. Choose the signee — you and/or other people
  4. Drag and drop a signature placeholder
  5. Edit the placeholder to sign
  6. If you choose the “Draw,” “Type” or “Sign Pad” options, your signature will automatically be transparent

jSign makes every signature transparent to help keep your documents professional. Of course, if you want to upload a pre-saved signature to jSign, you also have that option. However, you still need to make sure it’s a PNG file for the signature to be transparent. 

But why go through the process of uploading a transparent signature when you can draw a transparent signature right in jSign?

Transparent Signature FAQs

Still have questions about transparent signatures? Here are some answers to some common questions. 

Can I save my transparent signature as a JPG?

No. JPGs don’t support transparency. If you save a transparent signature as a JPG, a background will automatically be reapplied to the file, so the signature is no longer transparent. 

What can I use to remove the background from my signature?

Several online tools can remove the background from your signature. One preferred tool is Photoshop, but you need to pay for it. Several free tools exist, like Gimp, Cartoonize and Wondershare PixCut. iPhone users can also use the Preview app. 

Just keep in mind that it can be challenging to remove the background within the loops and curves of your signature. An easier option is creating a transparent signature from the start with a tool like jSign.

How do I remove a background in Word?

Insert the picture of your signature into a Word document, then select “Picture Format.” Click on the first option in the toolbar, “Remove Background.” Word will automatically highlight the area you need to remove, but you can make adjustments by selecting “Mark Areas to Keep” or “Mark Areas to Remove.”

Note that Word can’t always perfectly select the background surrounding the signature. Even by adjusting the selection, you might not get a fully transparent signature like with jSign.

How do I remove a background from a PDF?

If you have a signature saved as a PDF, you need to use an image editing tool to remove the background. You can use Photoshop or a similar free tool. Once you have removed the surrounding area, save the file as a PNG to ensure the signature remains transparent.

Keep Your Documents Professional with Transparent Signatures

Whether you’re signing a lease agreement or a purchase order, you need to keep things professional. And a signature with a glaring background isn’t professional. Transparent signatures can help you make electronic signatures look as natural and professional as possible. jSign makes them a breeze. Start using transparent signatures today by signing up for a free trial with jSign

James Lintzer
Senior Marketing Manager

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