I'm looking for ideas how to resolve a business need for digital signatures. For context, I'm an Excel / Access VBA developer with little experience in digital signatures other than the solutions present in the latest versions of Office and Adobe Acrobat, so this one is well outside my experience!

My client has some internal forms which are created in Excel. These forms require management sign-off and until now physical signatures have been used. The problem is that often the required signatories are overseas so delays have arisen in the overall process.

To this end, the client has asked whether we can find a digital signature solution that fulfils the following criteria:

  • enables asynchronous, multi-entry signing service on each individual document required - there will be between 3 and 6 signatories required each time, and these must be able to sign in any order, concurrently or otherwise

  • able to support signatures on either documents in Excel form or as PDFs

  • once signed, the document must remain a single document containing all signatures (rather than creating a document per signatory)

  • must be able to track signature progress from central office

  • must issue notifications to required signatories

  • finally (and to my mind the most tricky requirement) the solution must allow for access and signing functions for users via company smartphones. This is essential, as when overseas the managers in question are usually not based in an office but rather are out on construction sites or at supplier facilities

So, I wondered if anyone here could suggest software that could fulfil these requirements?

If you need any more information about the way the software would be used, please let me know and I'll update the post.

Many thanks in advance for your time!


2 Answers 2


Alfresco workflows could solve your problem.
Here is how it would work:

  • UserA writes an Excel or PDF document on her desktop computer, it is automatically synchronized to the company's Alfresco document management server by CmisSync
  • In the Alfresco web interface, UserA clicks on Start a workflow, choses the workflow type Pooled Review & Approve, choses the reviewers, and enters 100% required approval (see screenshot below)
  • All of the reviewers get a notification, and perform the review, be it on their desktop computers or on their smartphone using the Alfresco Android/iOS app
  • Once everyone has approved, the workflow ends

Alfresco pooled review workflow

For further convenience, a custom workflow can be defined in Activiti where:

  • The dialog seen above is not shown, and instead the review group and 100% are automatically chosen
  • After completion, the document is moved to a folder called Signed to which nobody has write access. The only way to put something into that folder is to go through the workflow.

100% free and open source with paid support options available.
Disclaimer: I wrote CmisSync and use Alfresco every day.

  • Thanks, that's a little more complex than my client wants but it looks (to my untrained eye) like a good suggestion. Much appreciated! Jul 23, 2015 at 15:18

Asking this question on Reddit resulted in another suggestion - HelloSign. In case a future seeker comes looking at this post, here's links to the Reddit comment suggesting it, and the software's actual site:



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