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How to Digitally Sign PDF Documents on Your Mac

Sign PDFs on Mac | MacMost Guide

In today’s digital era, electronic signatures have become a necessity in many official processes. They save time, effort, and paper, which makes them an essential tool in our day-to-day work.
This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to sign your PDF documents digitally using Preview on your Mac without the need for printing or scanning. 📝💻


Opening the PDF Document

When you receive a PDF document, you can open it by double-clicking on the document, which defaults to open in Preview on your Mac. If it opens with a different application, you can Control click on the document and choose Open With > Preview. 👆💻


Filling in the Form

Once the document is open, you’ll notice the form fields that need filling in. One of them is the Signature field, which typically requires your written signature. Apart from this, you might also need to fill in more details, like name, date, or other specific information— these are all considered text fields. 😊🖋📅


Using the Markup Tools

To fill in the form or sign the document, you need to switch to the Markup Tools in Preview. If you don’t see the tools, you might need to click a button and select Markup from the menu. The Text Box tool in the Markup panel allows you to create a new piece of text, adjust the size and color, and place it appropriately in the text fields. 🧰⌨️


Adding the Signature

For signing the document, you have to use the Signature button in the Markup Tools. When you click on it, you may see a list of signatures that you’ve already set up, or you will have options to add a new one. You can add your signature in three ways—using trackpad, camera, or using an iPhone or iPad✍️📲🖥️

Using trackpad: If your Mac has a trackpad, you can use it to draw and record your signature. Simply click on Trackpad under the options and start drawing on the trackpad surface.

Using a camera: If your Mac has a built-in camera, you can draw your signature on a blank piece of paper, hold it up to the camera, and capture it.

Using an iPhone or iPad: For the ones with an iPhone or iPad signed into the same Apple ID, the iPhone or iPad option will appear. When you click on it, your device will be transformed into a writing tablet for signing.


Storing Multiple Signatures

Once you’ve added your signature(s), they get stored in Preview for later use. You can have multiple signatures or initials saved for various use cases, for example, some documents require only your initials, and others might need your full signature. The setup remembers your signature and prepares it for use in future documents. 👥📄


Making the Signature Permanent

After adding your signature, select the signature and place it in the signature field of the document. You can adjust the size and position to fit correctly. The text can be edited for as long as you’re opening the document in Preview. However, once you’ve added your signature, it is permanent and cannot be edited. ✅🔒


Using Markup Tools Without Preview

Did you know you don’t always have to open a document in Preview to sign it? The Markup Tools are also available in other applications like Mail. For instance, if you have to sign a PDF that you received in an email, you can simply reply, include the original attachment, use the Markup Tools to sign and annotate it, and send it back—all without having to save the document! 💌🖊️


Signing Documents from the Finder

You can also sign documents directly from the Finder without having to open the document at all. With the Preview pane open, use the Markup Quick Action button to bring up the Markup Tools in a separate window not part of any application. Here, you can use the Text Boxes and signatures to fill in the document then just click Done. No need to save or open in different apps! 🗂️🏃‍♀️

Conclusion: 🏁

In conclusion, signing PDF documents on your Mac is a simple process that makes handling official documents digitally an easy task. The versatility offered by the Markup Tools in Mac allows you to sign documents swiftly without printing or scanning, whether you open them in Preview or sign them directly from the Finder or Mail. Your environment thanks you for saving paper! 😄🌳


A digital signature is a unique mark or design made digitally that confirms the authenticity of a digital document or message.

Digital signatures verify your identity and authenticity of documents, prevents tampering, ensures integrity and is legally binding like a written signature.

In Preview on your Mac, open the PDF you want to sign. Click the markup toolbar button, click the signature button, then click Create Signature. Follow the onscreen instructions to create and save your signatures.

Yes, you can use a picture of your signature. Import the photo to your Mac, then use the signature feature in Preview to insert it.

You can simply create a new signature following the same steps and then choose it when needed.

Yes, in most jurisdictions, digitally signed documents are just as legally binding as physically signed ones.

Ensure that you are using the latest macOS. If the problem persists, you might want to seek software that provides such functionalities.

Yes, you can delete a signature by going to the signature panel in Preview then ctrl + click the signature you want to delete.

You can use any image, but it is recommended to use one that closely resembles your actual physical signature to maintain authenticity.

No, you do not need any special software to digitally sign a PDF on your Mac. You can use the Preview application that comes installed on all Macs.

Yes, you can download a picture of your signature from your email, save it to your image files, and then use it when signing PDFs.

The addition of a digital signature will not considerably increase the size of your PDF file.

Yes, PDFs are universal files and can be signed regardless of their origin.

The process of signing a PDF digitally should take just a few minutes at most. Speed will depend on your comfort with the tool.

Yes, all signatures you create are saved and can be reused when signing other PDFs.

No, there are no limits to the number of signatures you can create using Preview on your Mac.

Yes, your signature is safe. It is stored locally on your Mac and not shared with outsiders.

You can write the date out manually in the PDF or use the ‘text’ feature of Preview to add it digitally.

Yes, you can sign a PDF using your Mac’s trackpad or by using an image of your signature.

Yes, signing a PDF on your Mac does not require a printer or scanner. You can just use Preview’s signature feature with a trackpad or an image of your signature.

No, the color of your signature in Preview relies on the color of the signature source. However, you could import a colored signature.

Yes, you can undo a signature by pressing the Undo button in the Preview application.

Yes, once you’ve placed the signature onto the PDF in Preview, you can adjust its size as needed by dragging its corners.

You need the PDF file you want to sign. Without this file, you can not sign it.

Your signature image can be in any common format like JPEG, PNG or GIF.

Yes, you can rotate your signature in the Preview application after you’ve placed it onto the PDF.

Yes, you can drag your signature to your desired place on the document using the Preview application.

Yes, once a PDF file is saved after adding a signature, it remains in the document regardless of where it is sent or opened.

No, adding a signature to your PDF will not alter or damage other contents. It only adds your signature to the specified location.

You can sign multiple PDFs on your Mac, but each signature placement must be done on a per-document basis.