How to Digitally Sign a PDF

With so many digital products available today, there is a lot that people can do on their computers and mobile devices. One such action is signing PDF documents digitally.

By adding digital signatures to documents, you save yourself from that print, sign, scan, and send routine. You can just add your signature and do whatever you have to do with the document.

Signing Your PDF Documents

Before all else, it is important to note that there are two different types of signatures you can use:

  1. Digitized signature
  2. Digital signature

A digitized signature is one that you sign using a mouse, touchscreen, or digital pen. It is quite similar to signing with a pen in real life. The only difference is that you are using a digital device to digitize your signature.

Quite different from the above is the digital signature. It can also be a much more secure way of signing anything digitally. You can use it not only for PDF documents but any other sort of digital signing as well. To be able to do so, you’ll have to own a qualified digital signature first.

A digital signature is an imprint of your legal name onto one of your documents. Only officially registered Certification Authorities can issue qualified digital signatures. That is to ascertain that your signature adheres to the strict PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) protocols.

For the scope of this article, you will learn how to add a digitized signature to your PDF documents.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF from a Mac

The best way to sign a PDF document on Mac is to use the Preview app. Thanks to the integration for signing documents, you do not need to install additional apps.

  1. Open the PDF that you want to sign. This should automatically start the Preview app on your Mac.
  2. From the app’s top menu, click the icon that looks like a toolbox.
  3. This will open a new toolbar beneath. Click the Sign icon to proceed. It is the one that looks like a signature.
  4. Click Trackpad.
  5. Now use the trackpad on your Mac to draw your signature. If you do not like how the signature looks, click the Clear button to start over.
  6. Once you are satisfied with your signature, click Done.
  7. Now you can select your signature by clicking the Sign icon and place it anywhere in your PDF document.
  8. Finally, click File and then Save to save the signed PDF.

If you prefer to use Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can do that as well. As you can imagine, the process is basically the same on all platforms, for which you can check the following section.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF from a Windows PC

Although there are several PDF readers, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC proves to be the best for signing documents. As the official PDF app, it is free to use and comes with a lot of useful features. If you do not have it on your computer, you can install it on Adobe’s website.

To add a digitized version of your signature, follow the steps below.

  1. In File Explorer, open the PDF document. If you have associated another PDF reader as default, follow the next couple of steps:
    1. Step 1

      Right-click your PDF file.
    2. Step 2

      Click Open with then click Choose another app.
    3. Step 3

      Click Adobe Acrobat Reader DC from the list of available apps.
  2. Step 4

    Click the Sign tab on the top menu then Fill & Sign.
  3. Step 5

    This will add the Fill & Sign toolbar right above your document. Click the Sign icon. It is the one that looks like a pen tip.
  4. Step 6

    Click Add signature.
  5. Step 7

    This opens the signature pop-up window. Acrobat Reader may suggest a generic signature based on your name. If you do not want to use the generic one, you can also create your own signature. To do so, click Draw in the top menu of the pop-up window.
  6. Step 8

    Now simply use your mouse to draw your signature, just as you would a pen and paper. Click Clear in the lower-left corner of the signature window if you screw up.
  7. Step 9

    Once you are satisfied with how your signature looks, click the Apply button at the bottom of the window.
  8. Step 10

    Now you can use your mouse to move the signature around. To put it where you want it in your PDF, simply click once and that is it.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF from a Chromebook

To digitally sign PDF documents on a Chromebook, you can use some of the third-party apps to do that. One of the most popular is the HelloSign app. It comes with a Chrome application that integrates with Google Drive, for example. Although it is not completely free, it allows you to sign up to three documents each month without charge.

  1. Step 1

    Open the HelloSign app on your Chromebook.
  2. Step 2

    Click the Create a Template button.
  3. Step 3

    The Create Signature pop-up window appears. Click Draw it in from the menu to the left.
  4. Step 4

    Now draw your signature with a mouse. If you do not like how your signature looks, click Clear beneath the signature field and start over.
  5. Step 5

    Once you have the signature to your liking, click the Insert button in the lower-left corner of the pop-up window.
  6. Step 6

    This will add your signature to your PDF. Now save your document and that is it.

Besides HelloSign, there are other third-party apps that you can try as well. Some of the popular ones include DocuSign and SignNow. You may want to try them all out and see which one works for you the best.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF from an Android Device

Signing PDF documents digitally on Android requires a third-party app. At the moment, the best one for the job is Adobe’s Fill & Sign app. What is more, it does not limit the number of documents you can sign for free in a month. Before you proceed, install the app from Google Play.

  1. Step 1

    Open the Fill & Sign app on your Android device.
  2. Step 2

    Within the app, choose the PDF document you would like to sign.
  3. Step 3

    Tap the Sign icon in the top left corner of the screen. It is the one looking like a pen tip.
  4. Step 4

    Click Create Signature.
  5. Step 5

    Now create your signature by dragging your finger across the screen. If you are not satisfied with how it looks, click Clear and try again. Once you get the signature you like, tap Done.
  6. Step 6

    Now all you have to do is save your signed PDF document and that is it.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF from an iPhone

Unlike Android devices, iOS allows users to sign documents using the Mail app. Although it is not that capable as third-party apps, it can do a decent job of signing your PDFs. When you receive an e-mail with a PDF attachment, follow the steps below to sign it.

  1. Step 1

    Open the Mail app on your iPhone.
  2. Step 2

    Tap the e-mail containing the PDF you would like to sign.
  3. Step 3

    Tap the marker icon on the upper-right corner.
  4. Step 4

    Tap the plus sign then Signature at the bottom right corner of the screen.
  5. Step 5

    Now create your signature by dragging your finger across the screen.
  6. Step 6

    Once you are satisfied with your signature, tap Done then drag the Signature to where you want it to be placed then click Done again.
  7. Step 7

    This will cause Mail to automatically reply to the e-mail containing the PDF. Of course, the reply will contain the new version of that digitally signed PDF document.

If you need a more versatile solution, you can always turn to Adobe’s Fill & Sign. You can install it on the App Store for free. If you want to learn how to use it, check the section above (for Android). Both apps work absolutely the same.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF from an Online Web Tool

If you do not want to use any third-party apps, then you can turn to the available online solutions. With those, you can simply visit a website, upload your document, sign it, and download it back.

Some of the most popular online PDF signing websites include SmallPDF eSign PDF, PDF Filler, and PDF Buddy. Go to any of these and you’ll find clear instructions on how to upload your document and sign it.

Signing Digitally Is a Breeze

Hopefully, this article helped you with signing PDF documents digitally. Regardless of the platform, the process is quite simple as it allows you to draw your own signature. Once you do that, adding it to a PDF document is a matter of one click or tap. Obviously, the easiest way to do this is with Adobe’s tools. There is Acrobat Reader for computers and Fill & Sign for mobile devices. Of course, you can always check out some other third-party apps, which might prove more convenient for you.

Have you managed to sign your PDF documents? Which app did you use? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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