How-To: Digitally Sign PDF Documents

You can now digitally add your signature to PDF documents from within many PDF readers. This makes it super easy to receive a PDF based contract via email, add your signature, and then email the signed contract back. First, sign your name on a white piece of paper with a black pen (my preferred method).  Then, follow these steps to save your signature to your PDF reader and apply that signature to any PDF contract:

MacOS – Built in Preview Application

MacOS has a built in application called Preview, if you double click on a PDF on the Mac, this is the default application that will open to view the PDF.  Preview has a great “sign PDF” feature built right in.

Note: These instructions were written using Preview v8.0 running on MacOS 10.10 (Yosemite). They should work with other version combination of Preview and MacOS…milage may vary.

  1. Open your PDF document in Preview (usually just double click on the PDF file will do this; right clicking on the PDF file and from the “Open With…” menu choosing Preview also works.)
  2. Scroll through the PDF document to the location where you need to sign.
  3. Click the “Show Markup Toolbar” icon and then click the “Sign” iconMacOS-Preview-Toolbar-SC
  4. Create your signature by choosing the method you prefer (You only have to do this step the first time. Afterwards, your signature will be save by Preview and you can skip this step):
    1. Click the trackpad menu to sign your name on the trackpad using your finger.MacOS-Preview-Signature-Trackpad-SC
    2. Click camera menu to hold up a piece of paper in front of your FaceTime camera (assuming you’re on a laptop or using an Apple monitor with built in camera) until your signature is on the projected line. Once Preview sees the signature clearly (use two hands to hold paper still) it will auto-capture the image and display it.  Preview will flip the image during capture so your signature isn’t backwards. MacOS-Preview-Signature-Camera-SC
    3. Click the “Done” button.
  5. From the “Sign” popup, select the signature you just created or want to use. Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 10.59.19 AM
  6. Preview will add your selected signature to the current page of your PDF document, now just drag your signature to the appropriate “sign here” spot, and resize as needed using the blue dots in each corner.MacOS-Preview-Signature-Spot-SC
  7. Click anywhere within your PDF document to make the “resize” box around your signature disappear.  You can click on your signature again to resize or move as needed.
  8. Save your PDF document as a new file.  I prefer to save using the original filename but appending “my-name-signed” to the end of the file name to make it easier for the person I’m email the document back to.

Windows – Adobe Reader 

Note: These instructions were written using Adobe Reader 2015.007 running on Windows 7. They should work with other version combination of Reader and Windows…milage may vary.

[Instructions Coming Soon…]


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