Mac Productivity

How to Add Signatures to Documents Using Preview on Mac

Nancy Messieh 26-02-2018

In this digital age, signing documents is increasingly becoming something that you can do online without having to print out a single page. No scanners necessary!


Not to be confused with digital signatures which use encryption Is Your Electronic Signature Legal Around the World? Are electronic signatures valid and legal around the world? Are they more preferable to the inked handwritten signature in a paperless world? We look at what the law says globally. Read More , electronic signatures are an easy way to add your signature to any documents in PDF format.

Mac users don’t have to sign up for any additional services or download any additional software to easily sign documents in seconds—all you need is the native Mac app, Preview.

How to Set Up a Signature in Preview

  1. Go to Tools > Annotate > Signature > Manage Signatures.
  2. There are two ways to save your signature. The easier (and default option) is to sign on a piece of paper, and hold that piece of paper up to your Mac’s camera. Hold up your signature so that it hovers over the blue line. The camera will pick up the signature and create a digital version.
  3. If you’re satisfied with the signature, click Done. If you’re not satisfied, click Clear, and write a new signature and repeat the process.

If you’re particularly adept at writing using your trackpad, you can click the Trackpad button, and scribble out a signature using your trackpad instead. For a more accurate looking signature, you might consider using a stylus.

To see both processes in action, check out the video below:

You can only have one signature saved at a time. To remove a saved signature, click the annotation button in the menu or go to Tools > Annotate > Signature > Manage Signatures. Click the grey X next to your saved signature to remove it.


How to Insert a Signature in Preview

Now that you have your signature saved, open up the PDF you want to sign. If you’re creating the PDF yourself, be sure to leave enough space for your signature, which will be inserted as an image.

After you open your document, do the following:

  1. Go to Tools > Annotate > Signature.
  2. You should now see the signature you created in the menu. Click on it to insert the image into your document.
  3. The signature will be inserted as a large image in the center of the page. You can click to move it, and click on any of the handles in the corner and drag to resize.
  4. Once you have the signature placed where you want it, you can close the document and preview should automatically save it.

It’s also worth noting that once you close the document, the signature cannot be removed.

Related topics: Digital Document, Digital Signatures, Preview App.

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  1. Phil
    March 3, 2019 at 1:41 am

    Damned, how cool is this? Never saw this lovely feature, instead I scanned or shots iphone photo, photoshopped it and and and..

    Thanks & cheers, cool tip, tried it and works lovely.