How to Add Electronic Signatures to PDF

Any digital mark that is part of a document is an electronic signature. You have electronically signed a contract if you get it in Microsoft Word and upload a photo of your handwritten signature or a generic image file with some scribbled text. In this article we will teach you How to Add Electronic Signatures to PDF.

Electronic signatures are still legally binding, even though they are not as safe as digital signatures. The security of some electronic signatures is better than that of others. When a document is signed, a tool like PandaDoc automatically makes a certificate with the date and time. This makes it harder for the person who signed the document to deny their approval later. Below we have mention the steps to Add Electronic Signatures to PDF.

How to Add Electronic Signatures to PDF

Add Electronic Signatures to PDF

Add Electronic Signatures to PDF on Windows Using Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader is not the lightest PDF viewer, but it is one of the most feature-rich and has great support for signing PDF files. Even though this feature might be available in some third-party PDF readers, you usually have to buy a paid version to use it.

  • To sign a document with Adobe Reader, you must first open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. In the right pane, click the “Fill & Sign” button.
  • To add your signature to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, click the “Sign” button on the toolbar and then click “Add Signature.”
  • You can use the other buttons on the toolbar to add more information to the document if you need to. For example, you can use the buttons on the Fill & Sign toolbar to type text or add checkmarks to forms.
  • A signature can be made in one of three ways. Adobe Reader’s default setting is “Type,” which lets you type your name and have it turned into a signature. Since this will not look like your real signature, it is probably not the best thing to do.
  • Instead, you should probably choose “Draw” and then use your mouse or touch screen to draw your signature. If you want to sign a piece of paper, scan it with a scanner, and then add your written signature to Adobe Reader, you can also choose “Image.” (Yes, you have to scan your signature, but you only have to do that once. After that, you can use that signature on any electronic documents you sign in the future.)
  • Click “Apply” after you have made a signature to add it to the document. If you leave “Save Signature” checked, you can add this signature quickly in the future.
  • You can use your mouse to put your signature where you want it, then click to use it. If you chose to save your signature, it will always be easy to find in the “Sign” menu.
  • To save your signed PDF, go to File > Save and choose where you want to save the file.

For Mac: Use Preview

Windows users are less lucky than Mac users. Preview, which comes with macOS, has built-in features for signing documents. Because the trackpads on MacBooks are so good, you can use one finger to draw your signature on the trackpad and enter it into Preview. This works even better on a new MacBook with a “Force Touch” trackpad because it responds to how hard you press on it.

  • If you would rather sign your name the old-fashioned way, you could also sign a piece of paper and “scan” it with your webcam (or if you have an iMac with no trackpad).
  • To sign a document, open a PDF file in Preview. If you have not changed it, this is the app that should open when you double-click on a PDF file. Click the button that looks like a toolbox and says “Show Markup Toolbar.” Then, click the “Sign” button on the toolbar that comes up.
  • You will be asked to sign by dragging your finger over the trackpad or by signing a piece of paper and scanning it with your webcam. Preview will remember your signature if you only have to do it once.
  • Once you have a signature, you can choose it from the menu that comes up when you click “Sign.” Your signature is added to the document as an image that can be moved and resized to fit.
  • You can type text and draw shapes on the document with the other tools on the toolbar. This lets you fill out forms if you need to.
  • When you are finished, click File > Save to save the PDF with your signature. You can also click File > Duplicate to make a copy of the PDF and save your changes without making any changes to the original file.
  • On a Mac, you can also use Adobe Reader DC if you do not like Preview for some reason. It will work just like signing a document on Windows, so if you want to know how to do that, look in the Windows section.

For iPhone and iPad: Use Mail or Adobe Fill & Sign

Using the markup feature in the Mail app on an iPhone or iPad, you can sign documents. If you have a Mac and sign documents with Preview, your signature will sync from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad so you do not have to make it twice.

This feature is helpful, but it only works if you use the Mail app to sign documents. For example, you might get an email with a PDF file that you need to sign and send back right away.

  • To do this, you will need to get an email with a PDF file attached, tap the PDF attachment, and click the toolbox-shaped “Markup and Reply” icon in the bottom right corner of the screen while viewing the PDF.
  • Then, tap the signature button in the bottom right corner of your screen to add your signature. If you want, you can also type text and draw on the document.
  • When you tap “Done,” the Mail app will automatically reply to the email with your signed document attached. You can type an email message and send the document after it has been signed.
  • This is helpful, but it only works with the Mail app, so it is not very useful. You will need a third-party signing app to do this from any other app.
  • There are quite a few choices here, but we like Adobe’s Adobe Fill & Sign app because it lets you sign as many documents as you want for free. It can even use your camera to take pictures of paper documents, so you can make digital copies of forms that you fill out on paper. You can write on your touch screen to sign a document with your finger or a stylus, and you can also type text into PDF documents to fill them out.
  • Find the PDF file in another app, tap “Share,” and then choose the Adobe Fill & Sign app. Then you can tap the button that looks like a signature to easily sign the document. When you are done, you can send the signed document to another app by tapping the “Share” button in Adobe Fill & Sign.
  • If you are a business looking for a more full-featured tool or just do not like Adobe Sign & Fill, we also really like SignNow. It works very well, and you can use your finger to sign documents. You can sign up for up to five documents a month for free, but after that, you have to pay a monthly fee. Still, it is a good alternative.

Add Electronic Signatures to PDF on Android Using Adobe Fill & Sign

There is no app built into Android that can do this. You will have to use a third-party app instead. We like Adobe Fill & Sign because, just like on the iPhone and iPad, it lets you sign as many documents as you want for free every month. It can also use your camera to take a picture of a paper document so that you can sign it electronically.

After you install the app, you can open PDF files in it and sign them by tapping the signature button. Then, you can tap the “Share” button to send the signed document to another app.

If you want something with a few more features and are willing to pay, we also recommend SignNow for iPhone and iPad (since it only offers up to five signatures a month for free).

Add Electronic Signatures to PDF on Chromebook Using HelloSign

  • You can find a number of web signing services that work for you on a Chromebook. HelloSign is good because it has both a good web interface and a Chrome app that works with Google Drive. You can sign up to three documents for free each month.
  • HelloSign’s basic web interface makes it easy to upload PDF files and sign them by hand or by uploading an image of your signature. Then you can send the signed document to someone by email or download it and do whatever you want with it.

DocuSign works well on a Chromebook if you do not like HelloSign. It has a signing app that works with Google Drive and a browser extension that lets you sign documents from Gmail. But DocuSign does not let you sign anything for free. SignNow also has a Chrome app for Google Drive and a Gmail extension, but the reviews for these are not as good.


How do I add a signature to a PDF without Adobe?

If you use an eSignature tool like Signaturely, you can sign a PDF without Adobe. It lets you make a digital signature and add it to a PDF file you have uploaded. As a web-based app, all you need to use it is access to the internet and a browser.

Can I copy and paste a signature to a PDF?

Use a short-term spot (like your desktop). Open the PDF file in Adobe Reader, draw a box around your signature, right-click in the box, and choose Copy Image. Open Microsoft Word and paste the signature into a new document. Select Save as Picture when you right-click on the signature.

Can I type an electronic signature?

Text Typed is one of the most common types of electronic signatures used today. It means that a person has used a keyboard to type their name in order to sign “something.” Even though Text Typed is the most common way to sign electronically, it is not the only way.

Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams is a staff writer who focuses on stories about science and space. He gives short, helpful summaries of what's new in these fields, such as technological advances, new discoveries and explorations, and updates on major space missions. His reporting is mostly about breaking down complicated scientific ideas and explaining them in a way that anyone can understand. Bushman's work helps keep people up to date on the latest developments in science and space. It also helps people learn more about and appreciate these important fields.


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