How to Sign a PDF: The Best Tools for Electronic Signatures
Signing digital documents by hand is tedious. Print, sign, scan, right? Fortunately, electronic signatures are on the rise.
Maybe you want to add a signature to a PDF contract or a registration form. We’ll show you how to electronically sign a PDF. Here is a selection of free and paid tools to conveniently sign PDF documents from your PC or phone.
1. PDF Buddy
This tool lets you sign or edit up to three PDF files every month for free. It’s a smart solution if you work with PDFs only occasionally. It’s also a browser-based tool that works on your Mac, PC, or Chromebook.
To get started, look for the orange Choose PDF to Edit button on the right. Click it and select a PDF file from your computer.
Once the PDF appears on your screen, you’ll see a menu option on the left. Choose the Signature button from it. (You’ll have to sign up for a free account if you haven’t already done so.)
Then, select an option from the popup box. You can pick a signature image file from your computer or draw a signature for the PDF. Past signatures from files signed with PDF Buddy display in the bottom of that options box.
If you decide to draw your signature, the tool will bring up a box on the screen. Use your mouse cursor to write your name. After making either signature choice click Use, which will allow you to move and place it as needed in the document.
When you’re done, click Save changes (just to be safe) and then Download your signed PDF.
This free tool is easy to use, and it doesn’t require downloading software. However, it’s not suitable if you want to sign PDFs on a mobile device.
Use: PDF Buddy (Free)
HelloSign offers bank-level security for signed PDF documents. It works in the cloud , which gives peace of mind when working with and saving files.
Integrations with popular applications like Google Docs, Dropbox, and OneNote add user-friendliness. HelloSign permits in-person signatures on mobile devices but works in browsers too.
After signing up or logging in, look at the menu on the left. Find the Sign Documents header and choose who is signing the document. If it’s just you, select Just Me.
Then, click on the icon that looks like the bottom part of a downward arrow. It’s to the right of your email address in the top right corner. Select Create a Signature.
Then, choose one of the options in the box. When finished, click the Select button at the bottom right.
Next, upload the PDF file that needs a signature. Once it’s been uploaded, you’ll see an option to Fill Out & Sign. Click that button.
When the document opens, click the Signature button at the upper left. Pick the desired signature, then click the Insert button. You can drag the signature across the document to place as needed.
After editing the PDF file, click the Continue button at the upper right. Doing so saves the file to your HelloSign account.
If using a mobile device, select that you want to open a PDF file with the HelloSign app. Then, look for the signature option along the bottom of your screen.
Whether signing with a computer or mobile device, the prompts to sign a document are straightforward. It’s also easy to find signed materials by logging into your HelloSign account.
3. Smallpdf’s eSign Feature
Smallpdf offers many PDF editing tools, but the one applicable in this case is the eSign option.
Once you see the purple box on the screen, drag your PDF into it or click the Choose File link. Notice the options on the right that integrate with Dropbox and Google Drive too.
Smallpdf provides 256-bit SSL encryption during file transfers. Also, all files automatically erase from the Smallpdf servers after one hour.
After choosing your PDF, Smallpdf will prompt you to create your signature. Use your mouse or trackpad to draw it in the field provided. No worries, if your handwriting sucks (like mine), Smallpdf automatically cleans up your signature a little bit to make it look more uniform and fluid.
Click Save when you’re happy(ish) with your signature.
You’ll then be redirected to the PDF you uploaded earlier. The available signatures appear in a window on your screen. Choose one by clicking on it and clicking the Place Signature button. You can change the size and positioning of the signature if desired.
Drag the signature to its desired place in the document. When it’s exactly the way you want it, click Apply in the bottom right-hand corner.
You can then download your signed PDF!
Like PDF Buddy, this tool works in your browser and has simple functionality. You’ll have a signed PDF in under a minute. However, also similar to PDF Buddy, this tool does not have a mobile app equivalent. It does, however, have a desktop app that you can download for a free trial.
Use: SmallPDF eSign (Free)
4. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
Far from just a PDF signing tool, this Adobe product is for PDF power users. It lets you create and edit PDFs and change page order. It’s even possible to password protect the PDFs you upload here.
For our purposes though, we’ll focus on the program’s Fill & Sign capabilities.
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a paid solution. It costs $14.99 per month , but you get a one-week trial. Before beginning the trial period, you must provide payment details. You won’t get billed until the trial finishes.
You can use this program on PCs, Macs, and its complementing mobile apps.
Locate the Forms & Signatures header and choose the Fill & Sign option from underneath it. Doing so brings up a small toolbar. Select Sign from it.
You can import a signature image or draw a signature.
After saving your signature, it appears on the screen after you click Sign. Then, move the signature around on the document as needed.
Adobe’s Fill & Sign features are quick and simple. However, if you need to sign only a PDF, the cost may not be worthwhile.
5. JotNot Signature
JotNot Signature is an iOS application that permits the signing of PDFs. It also allows you to make basic annotations.
One potential perk is that it enables password protecting individual files. You can also lock the app with a password, which limits access to authorized users.
As you can see from the screenshot, it’s possible to access saved signatures or make new ones. The app supports sharing signed documents via email or uploading them to iCloud, too.
This app is ideal if you want to occasionally do more than sign PDFs. Whether adding a signature or doing something else, it’s is a reliable and hassle-free choice.
SignNow works in your browser or on a mobile device.
To start signing, click or tap the signature field on a PDF. After you do that, a popup box appears. It lets you type or draw a signature, or upload a relevant image. Select your preferred method by clicking one of the tabs on the top of the box.
All SignNow signatures are legally valid. If you choose to type your signature, pick one of several font choices. When drawing your signature, use your mouse or your finger.
Make sure to click the Make This My Signature checkbox before pressing the Add button.
Names of available tool options vary slightly on mobile devices, but they’re pretty self-explanatory.
SignNow offers reasonable prices for personal use. However, you pay for the service on an annual basis after the free trial ends. The yearly pricing structure may not be your preference for occasional use. But SignNow isn’t hard to use and offers desktop or mobile options.
With those things in mind, you may decide it’s worth the cost.
Signing PDFs: Free or Paid?
This list demonstrates that you have numerous options for signing PDFs. That’s true regardless of whether you’re willing to download paid software or want a browser-based tool .
When making your choice, it’s a good idea to keep intended tasks and usage frequency in mind. A paid solution may not be feasible for using a couple of times a month. However, if you work with PDFs often, a free tool might not have enough features.
Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.