The problem: You are asked to write a letter on letterhead with a signature and to send it by email attachment rather than hard copy.
You can print the letter on letterhead, sign it, scan it to a PDF (or take a photo with your mobile phone camera) and attach it to the email. (If there are multiple pages in your letter, you will need to combine them into one single .PDF document before attaching to the email.)
Create an image of your letterhead and an image of your signature. Then insert the images into the appropriate place in your letter. Use the following steps to do so:
- Using the second approach, whenever you need a letter on letterhead with a signature, you can insert the images. There is no need to print and scan each letter. Follow the steps below. Note that you will only have to do this once. After you have the letterhead and signature as images, save them in a convenient file on your computer and you can use them any time you need them.
- Obtain a copy of your official letterhead. It might be departmental or institutional. It can be black and white or color. But it should be a clean copy, without any folds through the letterhead itself. Alternatively, perhaps your institution or department already has an image of the letterhead available for this use. Check to see.
- On a separate piece of plain white paper, sign your name as you would sign a letter. Sign it in black ink with a good quality pen leaving some space around the signature.
- Set up a scanner to scan the image(s). If you do not have access to a scanner, your mobile phone camera works just as well. The goal is to create separate image files of the letterhead and your signature. Set your scanner to scan as a jpg file (your camera automatically does this). You may have to play with the scanner settings to get a good image while not creating an overly large file (<100 KB). Scan/photograph each image. Save the images.
- Open a blank document in Microsoft Word or whatever word processing program you use.
- Open the scanned image of your letterhead and select the area you will use as a letterhead image. Your computer is probably set up to open image files in a particular program, e.g., Microsoft Picture Manager, that allows you to edit images. Copy the letterhead image to the blank document.
- Save the Word document with the letterhead where you will be able to access it readily and name it something you will recognize, e.g., “letter images.” Whenever you need letterhead and/or your signature, open the document, click on the letterhead and copy and paste the image you need into the new document you are creating. Do the same with the signature, inserting it after the closing, e.g., “Sincerely,” and above your typed name and title.
- You can get fancier than this and set up the letterhead as a template document. Or you can save the images separately as “autotext” and insert the image when and where you need it. But the approach described above is certainly straightforward and sufficient.