Digitally Signing Microsoft Office Documents

Using Digital Signatures in Microsoft Office

Types of Digital Signatures

Microsoft supports two types of digital signatures which are classified as non-visible and visible.

Non-Visible Signature

Visible Signature


A non-visible digital signature cannot be seen within the contents of the document itself; however, recipients of the document can confirm the document has been digitally signed by looking at the red ribbon in the document status bar at the bottom of the screen or viewing the signature pane.

This method is commonly used when you need to provide authenticity, integrity, and origin assurances, but do not necessarily need a visible signature line.


A visible digital signature appears as a signature line, similar to a physical document. Adding one or more digital signature lines to a document allows you to specify who must sign the document. The signer applies their digital signature on the signature line created, with the option to include an image of their physical signature.

This method is commonly used when organizations need multiple users to sign documents like contracts or other agreements.


The type of signature that can be added is dependent upon the type of document you want to sign.

Microsoft Office Product Visible Signature Non-Visible Signature
Word icon-checkmark.png icon-checkmark.png
Excel icon-checkmark.png icon-checkmark.png
PowerPoint icon-checkmark.png
Outlook icon-checkmark.png
Next Steps

Purchase document signing certificates