Sign your PDFs electronically using Preview

Thanks to technology, instead of mailing paper or sending faxes, we can email important documents. But for many people, the biggest hurdle to going all-digital is signatures—how do you sign, say, a PDF document?

In this week’s Macworld video, I’m going to show you how to electronically sign your PDFs using tools you’ve already got on your Mac: a FaceTime or iSight camera and OS X’s Preview application.

Download Macworld Video #191

• Format: MPEG-4/H.264

• Resolution: 480 x 272 (iPhone & iPod compatible)

• Size: 4 MB

• Length: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Transcript

I’m Macworld senior editor Dan Frakes. Welcome to the Macworld Video.

Electronic documents are becoming more and more popular: Instead of mailing paper or sending faxes, we can just email important documents. But for many people, the biggest hurdle to going all-digital is signatures. How do you sign, say, a PDF document?

In this video, I’m going to show you how to electronically sign your PDF documents using tools you’ve already got on your Mac: a FaceTime or iSight camera and OS X’s Preview application.

The first step is to launch Preview and open its Preferences window. Click Signatures in the window toolbar, and then click Create Signature.

Next, sign your name in black ink on a plain-white piece of paper, and hold that signature a few inches in front of your Mac’s camera. When the onscreen image of the signature roughly fills the preview box and sits on the blue line, Preview will lock onto it. If it looks good, click Accept.

Your electronic signature will appear in the new Signatures list in Preview’s preferences. You can add another signature—say, for another family member—or delete a signature from the list using the plus- and minus-symbol buttons at the bottom of the window.

Now you’re ready to use your electronic signature. Open your document and click the Annotate button in the toolbar to show Preview’s annotation tools. It’s the button that looks like a pencil writing.

Click the signature button, which looks like a capital S on a line, and in the pop-up menu that appears, choose the saved signature you want to use. Then click in the area of the document you want your signature to appear. If the document has a signature line, you can click that line to place the signature precisely.

Once you insert your signature, you can reposition it, as well as make it larger or smaller. Once you’re satisfied with your signature size and placement, you can save the document and email or otherwise send it to the recipient.

Once you’ve created a signature, the annotate toolbar’s Signatures pop-up menu also includes commands to quickly create additional signatures, as well as to manage your saved signatures. The latter command simply opens Preview’s preferences window.

That’s all there is to it—simple PDF signing. Until next time, thanks for watching.

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