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How to Sign a PDF Document on your Mac

21st February 2021

Jacob Woolcock



In this short tutorial I’ll show you how you can sign a PDF document using your own handwriting using the Preview app on macOS Big Sur. You can use your normal signature on paper and digitalise it instantly, before then adding it wherever you need on your PDF document. I’ll show you a second tip as well where you can use a nearby iPhone or iPad to digitally sign your signature.

Here’s a quick guide on how to sign PDF documents on your Mac using the Preview app on Big Sur. I hope you find this tip helpful—if you do, then please do like and subscribe down below. That’ll really help me as I grow my channel and share more iPhone, iPad, and Mac QuickTip videos.

Okay, so you have a very important document, and it’s a PDF document. If you double-click on it, it’ll open in Preview on your Mac, and from here, you can see it requires a very important signature in the middle. Now, you could print this off, sign it, and then scan it back in again, but really it’s much easier to do it straight from the Mac.

On the top toolbar, you’re going to click on Tools, and then down to Annotate. From here, click on Signature. At the moment, if you haven’t got any signatures set up, you want to go onto Manage Signatures. Straight away, a new window will pop up showing the webcam. This screen is really helpful because what you’re going to do is grab a piece of white paper and, using a pen, you’re going to sign that paper. You’re then going to hold that up to your webcam on your Mac, and Preview will convert that piece of writing on the paper into a vector graphic image of your signature. When it looks good on the screen, press Done, and that’ll then add it as a signature into Preview. From here, simply click on it, and then you can drag it around your document, position and resize it, and when you save, that’ll be embedded in the PDF document.

But there’s another way of doing this as well… If we go back to Tools, Annotate, then Signature, and we go onto Manage Signatures, then we’ll click back onto Create Signature. Now, when that webcam screen comes up, you can actually choose a different option here and use your iPad or iPhone (if you’ve got one on the same iCloud account) to sign using your finger or an Apple Pencil. So, for me, I’m going to choose my iPad, and if I bring that onto the screen for you now, you can see a new window open on the iPad, and using my Pencil, I can quickly sign the signature, press Done, and that’ll send back to the Mac instantly.

So now, having signed my very legitimate and not at all suspicious correspondence, I can then go File, Save, and close that PDF document. Then, whoever I send that to will have the signature embedded in the document as if you’d signed it on paper or straight on the iPad itself.

It’s a really great feature but quite hidden, so hopefully, this tip has helped you discover another thing your Mac can do.

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