Dropbox now lets all users collect legally binding signatures for documents


The new feature will allow anyone to set up a form or other document to gather electronic signatures from recipients.


Image: iStockphoto/lukutin77, Dropbox

Sending people forms and documents that they must sign can be challenging. The traditional method of sending such documents through the mail is slow. Faxing such documents is problematic, especially if the recipients don’t have a reliable way to receive them. Sending out a document electronically seems like the quickest solution. But even that can prove difficult, especially if the signature must be legally binding. All of this is why Dropbox is rolling out a new feature designed to help professionals and other people who need to collect legally binding electronic signatures.

SEE: Managing the multicloud (ZDNet special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic) 

Available starting Tuesday for all Dropbox users, the new Dropbox eSignature feature integrates HelloSign, an eSignature company that Dropbox bought last year. Using Dropbox as your launching pad, you set up an existing form with the correct fields to collect signatures, dates, and other text.

You then email the form to one or more recipients. Those people add their signatures through any one of several methods. After the documents are signed, the sender and recipients can all view copies of the final version.

Initially available as a beta, the new feature is now accessible to all Dropbox users across all plans, including free, paid, and business. However, users are limited to just three free eSignature requests per month. Unlimited signatures are possible only with a paid HelloSign plan, which starts at $15 per month.

To use the new eSignature feature, you first have to create a form or other document set up with fields to allow for signatures and other text, a task you can accomplish with Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, or other applications. You’d then save your document as a PDF file. After your document is ready, sign into your Dropbox storage space and upload the document. In the Tools section on the left sidebar, click the entry for HelloSign. Then click the button to Choose a file to start (Figure A).

Figure A

At the HelloSign window, click the button to Choose a file. Browse to check the document you wish to email for signature and click the Choose button (Figure B). The first time you do this, you may need to verify your email address with Dropbox.

Figure B

Your document is then prepared for signing. At the screen for Who needs to sign, enter the name and email address of each recipient who must sign the document. Click Next (Figure C).

Figure C

The document appears. Scroll to each area where you need to insert the form fields. You can insert fields for a signature, initials, or a date. You can also add your own text boxes and check boxes for customized text. To add a field, simply drag it from the left sidebar into the appropriate spot in the document.

If you’re sending the document to more than one recipient, you must choose the proper recipient for each text field. You can do this by clicking the person’s name in the right sidebar before dragging the field type. From the right sidebar, you can also change the font and size for text fields. When done, click Next (Figure D).

Figure D

At the next screen, choose a folder and name for the final signed copy of the document (Figure E).

Figure E

At the next screen, you can add any recipients you wish to CC in the email and create a message to include in the email. Click the button to Send for Signature (Figure F).

Figure F

Your recipients then receive emails requesting their signatures on the document. In the email, they would click the button for Review & Sign. That brings them to the document. Clicking the Get Started button takes them to the necessary fields to fill. For a signature, a recipient can draw it with a finger or stylus, type it, upload an image of a signature, or even take a photo of one on a smartphone. The recipient clicks Insert (Figure G) and then the button for I agree.

Figure G

After all the recipients have signed and filled out the document, another email is sent to all parties to view the final version in the sender’s Dropbox space.


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How Apple users can make the most of Microsoft 365 at work

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    July 21, 2020
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Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, isn’t just for Windows users. Apple professionals, too, can take advantage of the popular platform’s numerous benefits.

Learn how Apple professionals can optimize efficiency and productivity with the cloud platform using iPads, iPhones and Macs when working within Windows-centric organizations in this article from TechRepublic Premium.

From the article:

The first consideration in maximizing Microsoft 365 is almost a non-issue for Mac users: Hardware. Pound-for-pound, Apple computers are potent systems boasting impressive performance profiles. At a minimum, Microsoft recommends using a Mac with an Intel processor and is expected to confirm ARM chips as compatible once Apple introduces the new Mac CPUs. Until then, any Mac with an Intel processor should prove capable.

Officially, Microsoft lists only 4GB RAM, 10GB free disk space, and a 1280 x 800 resolution as requirements. Further, Microsoft states the three most recent versions of macOS are compatible. So, making the most of Microsoft 365 shouldn’t surface hardware conflicts for most Mac users, but beware of the recommendations to prevent anomalies and avoid falling outside those requirements.

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Mac users: Check out this keyboard and mouse in Logitech’s Master Series


Find out why Erik Eckel calls Logitech’s MX Keys and MX Master 3 an ideal companion pair for Mac users.

This mouse and keyboard by Logitech could be a game-changer for Mac users.

Image: Logitech

Like grilled cheese and tomato soup, Logitech’s MX Keys Mac keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse are a particularly good combination. By themselves, each is great. But combined, whoa. You’re onto something.

Just as is probably true for you, I spend the better part of each weekday using a keyboard and mouse. I learned long ago the importance of higher quality peripherals. Considering the thousands of hours a year spent typing, scrolling, and clicking, I’ve never encountered trouble justifying such investments. And don’t let any fancy financial types tell you computer components aren’t investments: These accessories take your investment and grow the initial outlay into greater profit and value via the labor you complete wielding these devices.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Every time your fingers strike a key or your hand embraces the curves and buttons of a mouse, you should feel tactile confidence and comfort. Compatibility issues should prove ancient history. You shouldn’t have to fret over short battery lives, and you assuredly should no longer be messing with wired cable connections for keyboards and mice.

Logitech’s Bluetooth peripherals for Macs tandem delivers on all fronts. 

The MX Keys for Mac keyboard

Let’s start with the MX Keys for Mac keyboard (Figure A).

Figure A

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac keyboard boasts wireless Bluetooth connectivity, backlit keys, and excellent battery life.

Image: Logitech

Let’s get one item out of the way: The standard Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad is close to perfect. Apple’s flat, square keys respond firmly and accurately when pressed. Battery life, too, is excellent, and the Magic Keyboard connects easily to Macs. So, why do you even need the Logitech?

For one, the MX Keys for Mac is cheaper. Apple’s silver model is $129, and the price jumps to $149 for the Space Gray version. The Logitech alternative costs just $99.99.

SEE: Top 10 iPad tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Need another reason? If you’re among those who carefully curate their workspaces, Apple’s Space Gray Magic Keyboard, for which you pay the additional $20 surcharge, doesn’t match Space Gray MacBook Pros. The Apple keyboards are closer to black, while MacBook Pros are lighter and grayer, making them appear mismatched. The Logitech is almost a perfect color match, which those who take pride in their offices or prize design and appearance will appreciate.

The third factor, however, is the deal breaker. The Logitech keyboard is backlitThe Apple Magic Keyboard at, again, almost $150, is not. I work from a home office, as do so many of us now, and depending upon the day, I can’t read the keys on an Apple keyboard whenever the weather turns overcast.

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac (Figure B) definitively solved this problem. There’s no more hunting for special characters and functions, as the individual keys are literally glowing in the dark.

Figure B

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac keyboard’s backlit keys permit working in low-light environments.

Image: Erik Eckel

Other advantages of Logitech’s MX Keys for Mac include comfortable keys, which feature a sculpted design inviting to fingertips. The individual indentations naturally settle fingers into the ideal strike position, and the raised ridges on the F and J keys are more pronounced, too, making it easier to confirm your hand position on the home row without having to look down from your display. The 5 key on the integrated numeric keyboard boasts the same ridged bar, of course, which accountants and others routinely performing calculations will appreciate.

SEE: WWDC 2020: The biggest takeaways (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Thanks to a smartly engineered proximity sensor, the keyboard lights up when your fingers approach the keyboard, too, not after first errantly striking the wrong key because the keys weren’t lit. Careful energy programming, meanwhile, helps power the keyboard to months of use between charge cycles, which can be completed in two hours. Don’t worry, either, if you forget to charge the keyboard. It’s no big deal, as a quick three- or four-minute charge using the provided USB-C cable powers the keyboard an entire day.

The MX Master 3 for Mac mouse

The Logitech MX Master 3 for Mac mouse, like the Logitech keyboard, closely matches the finish of Apple’s Space Gray Macs and pairs elegantly with its MX Keys sibling (Figure C).

Figure C

The Logitech MX Keys for Mac keyboard and MX Master 3 mouse are ideal companions.

Image: Logitech

The Apple Magic Mouse 2, which costs $79 for silver and $99 in Space Gray and serves as the default for most users, is subject to perceiving various touches and inadvertent contact as specific intended gestures and is too small for my hand to remotely operate comfortably. The MX Master 3 is much larger and fits the hand in a much more natural way thanks to its contoured shape (Figure D).

Figure D

The Logitech MX Master 3 mouse features precision components that power superior performance versus lesser competitors.

Image: Logitech

Those factors alone justify choosing the Logitech mouse over Apple’s offering. But the MX Master 3 packs several additional significant advantages, too.

Just as properly toasting bread when making a grilled cheese and adding fresh ground black pepper to the accompanying tomato bisque creates a more savory experience, the functionality Logitech’s Logi Options software provides business users is compelling. For example, I program one of the mouse’s multiple individually customizable buttons to launch Mission Control, saving time and preserving ergonomic efficiency throughout the day every day.

SEE: TechRepublic Premium editorial calendar: IT policies, checklists, toolkits, and research for download (TechRepublic Premium)

Using Logi Options, you can also save and upload your mouse settings to your Logitech account, which permits backing up configurations and migrating settings to other computers, as well as set programmable functions for individual applications. The ability to set these individual application profiles is a game changer for those who regularly perform specific functions using Adobe and Microsoft applications, among others.

As for the mouse’s performance, it’s unsurpassed in my experience. The MX Master 3 can scroll 1,000 lines per second. Programmers and editors benefit from the speed. The machined steel electromagnetic ratchet also provides precision scrolling accompanied by a confidence-inspiring tactile clicking sensation. Just tap the top Wheel Mode Shift button to toggle between the settings.

Fortunately, battery life is just as good as its sibling keyboard. I go months between charges. When charging is required, like the MX Keys keyboard, the MX Master 3 ships with a USB-C cable. Just a couple minutes provides enough charge for an entire day, and two hours sets you up for another mammoth run. For $99.99, I can’t find a better mouse.

Mate these Logitech Master Series peripherals to your Mac, and I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the upgrade each offers over its Apple equivalents. And that’s saying something, as Apple’s keyboard is first rate and its mouse is widely used. Take the time you save using the Logitech components to make yourself a good grilled cheese with a side of soup. Comfort food’s almost always a safe bet, as are these Logitech tools.


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