How to Electronically Sign a PDF Using Preview on Mac

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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When you receive a PDF document by email that you must sign, the process of printing out the file, signing on the dotted line with a pen, scanning the signed document and sending it back can be a rather tedious task. Fortunately, Apple has added the ability to electronically sign a PDF document using Preview, a program that comes preinstalled on every Mac running OS X Lion or later.


The steps involved to electronically sign a PDF using Preview on Mac are quite simple and will save you valuable time, especially if you have multiple documents, contracts, forms or other paperwork to sign. If you are worried that your virtual signature will look bad, rest assured that you can create your signature by using the trackpad or holding up your signature on paper to a Mac's built-in iSight camera.

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Article Link: How to Electronically Sign a PDF Using Preview on Mac
 

WestonHarvey1

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2007
2,421
1,154
I've never figured out how to do this if you don't have a camera or trackpad. A simple image import feature would be nice but there isnt one last time I tried
 

ttss6

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2014
333
58
California
It's so clever to use Force Touch to show the varying pressure you put on your signature. Can't wait to try out the new MacBooks
 

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
5,397
2,226
The soggy side of the Pacific NW
Just to be "that guy"...

While people often do refer to this as a "digital signature", it really isn't anything of the sort. A digital signature is a cryptographic entity that at some level proves that you are indeed who you claim you are. It generally doesn't involve anything resembling your on-paper signature.

Anyone can append a rasterized/digitized version of your written signature to a document - it doesn't have to be you. With a real digital signature, though, that can't happen unless you are sloppy with your private key(s).
 
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AlecZ

macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2014
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Berkeley, CA
Just to be "that guy"...

While people often do refer to this as a "digital signature", it really isn't anything of the sort. A digital signature is a cryptographic entity that at some level proves that you are indeed who you claim you are. It generally doesn't involve anything resembling your on-paper signature.

Anyone can append a rasterized/digitized version of your written signature to a document - it doesn't have to be you. With a real digital signature, though, that can't happen unless you are sloppy with your private key(s).
This is exactly what I was going to say. I thought this article would be about RSA.
 

RedTomato

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
4,015
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.. London ..
Nice awareness-raising article but I am not sure why this is a Macrumors post. I've been signing PDFs on my 2013 mba for a while now so it isn't a brand new thing. Maybe new to Yoshemite though.
I've never figured out how to do this if you don't have a camera or trackpad. A simple image import feature would be nice but there isnt one last time I tried
Yes you can import images. Just drag and drop the signature image file onto the PDF. You might need to be in signature mode first, I can't remember.
 

SlCKB0Y

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2012
3,126
197
Sydney, Australia
Yes you can import images. Just drag and drop the signature image file onto the PDF. You might need to be in signature mode first, I can't remember.
No, a PDF in Preview will not allow you to import/drop an image into it. The PDF has to be converted to an image, then you drop the image into it and convert back to PDF.

If you believe this to be wrong perhaps you could create some step by step instructions, because my own testing and a whole lot of googling and no one else has found out how to do this.
 

Carlanga

macrumors 604
Nov 5, 2009
7,011
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Why the need to create a new thread about an old feature if nothing about its signature rendering quality was updated afaik?
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
47,742
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Why the need to create a new thread about an old feature if nothing about its signature rendering quality was updated afaik?
One of those "The More You Know..." PSA type of things perhaps?
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,807
1,704
Western US
Nice awareness-raising article but I am not sure why this is a Macrumors post.
Yes, this capability has been in Preview for a long time. At least since Mavericks and I think even before that. There is something that changed though. You used to be able to edit (move, resize) or delete the signature later; now, once you save and close the file it's permanently baked in.
 

Carlanga

macrumors 604
Nov 5, 2009
7,011
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Yes, this capability has been in Preview for a long time. At least since Mavericks and I think even before that. There is something that changed though. You used to be able to edit (move, resize) or delete the signature later; now, once you save and close the file it's permanently baked in.
Yeap, was a new feature in Lion.
 

BeyondtheTech

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2007
2,123
631
I've never figured out how to do this if you don't have a camera or trackpad. A simple image import feature would be nice but there isnt one last time I tried
No, a PDF in Preview will not allow you to import/drop an image into it. The PDF has to be converted to an image, then you drop the image into it and convert back to PDF.

If you believe this to be wrong perhaps you could create some step by step instructions, because my own testing and a whole lot of googling and no one else has found out how to do this.
If you can get a hold of a Mac that has a camera and have access to their Keychain, you can capture the signature there, then transfer it over to your Mac with this lack. Just make sure you delete it off the old one when you're done. Or if you have a few Macs and want to keep signatures handy on all of them, this is a neat method.

http://www.stuartcarnie.com/2011/08/transferring-preview-app-signatures-in.html?m=1
 

KALLT

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2008
4,933
3,007
Has anyone actually been able to create a decent signature with the trackpad? It seems more gimmicky than useful to me and I doubt that it can be used for more than a simple paraph. You might as well draw an ‘x’, it wouldn’t make a difference legally anyway.
 

BeyondtheTech

macrumors 68020
Jun 20, 2007
2,123
631
Has anyone actually been able to create a decent signature with the trackpad? It seems more gimmicky than useful to me and I doubt that it can be used for more than a simple paraph. You might as well draw an ‘x’, it wouldn’t make a difference legally anyway.
With a stylus, I have a long name and it came out decent and legible.