How to Electronically Sign PDF Documents on Mac and Windows

Sign PDFs on your computer with ease!

by: - Last updated on: December 5th, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • An electronic signature is an identification method for verifying one’s identity.
  • It eliminates the need for in-person presence and allows you to sign documents remotely.
  • If you’ve received a PDF file to e-sign as proof of your agreement/approval, you can use PDF editing apps on your Mac or Windows PC to sign it in a few simple steps.

E-sign or electronic signature is an electronic identification method for verifying one’s identity. It eliminates the need for in-person presence and allows users to sign documents remotely.

electronically signing a PDF

IMAGE: Signature Pro (Unsplash)

If you’ve received a PDF file to e-sign as proof of your agreement/approval, one of the easiest ways to electronically sign it is to use PDF editing tools—in-built or third-party.

However, depending on what device you’re using and the operating system it’s running, this can be a little confusing. So to help you navigate the situation better, we’ve put together a guide detailing the steps to sign PDF documents electronically on both Windows and Mac.

How to Sign a PDF Document on Windows

If you’re on Windows, you can electronically sign PDF documents in a couple of ways. You can either put to use Edge browser’s PDF reader or use a dedicated PDF reader/editor app like Adobe Acrobat DC.

While both of these methods work well, using the Edge browser is the easiest and doesn’t require you to install any third-party software. However, that also means you get limited control over your signatures. And this is where third-party PDF tools like Adobe Reader DC come in handy.

So depending on your preference, follow the instructions in the methods below accordingly.

Method 1. Signing a PDF on Windows Using Microsoft Edge

First things first, make sure you’re using the latest version of Microsoft Edge on your Windows PC. Once done, refer to the steps below to sign your PDF documents with Edge:

  1. Go to the folder that has the PDF sign you want to sign.
  2. Right-click on the file you want to sign and choose Open with > Microsoft Edge.
  3. When the file opens in Edge, click on the Draw (pencil) icon in the toolbar. If you’re on a machine with a touch screen, you’ll see the Draw with Touch option in the toolbar, which you can select to draw your signature using a pen.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Windows using Edge
  4. On non-touch devices, use your mouse/trackpad to draw your signature and sign the document.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Windows using Edge
  5. Click on the Save icon or press Ctrl+S to save the signed PDF.

Method 2. Signing a PDF on Windows Using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

If you’ve worked with PDFs on your Windows PC before, chances are you already have Adobe Reader installed on it. However, if that’s not the case, you’ll need to install it first. Then, click on the link below to download it on your PC.

Download: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

With the program installed on your PC, follow the steps below to sign your PDF file using Adobe Acrobat DC.

  1. Head to the folder that contains the PDF you want to sign.
  2. Right-click on it and select Open with > Adobe Acrobat DC.
  3. When the document opens, click on the Sign (pen) icon in the toolbar.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Windows using Adobe Reader
  4. Depending on how you like your signature, choose between the Add  Signature and Add Initials options.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Windows using Adobe Reader
  5. Now, irrespective of your above choice, you’ll see the following three options to generate a signature:
    • Type: It lets you type out your name. You can choose from a selection of signature styles.
    • Draw: It lets you draw your signature in the field.
      electronically sign a PDF document on Windows using Adobe Reader
    • Image: It lets you upload your signature image on your computer.
  6. Once your signature is ready, check off the box next to Save signature or Save initials and hit the Apply button.
  7. To place your signature or initial, drag it and move it to the signature field on the document.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Windows using Adobe Reader
  8. Go to File > Save or press the Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut to save the signed PDF document.

Once you’ve added the signature/initial, if you want to increase or decrease its size, tap on the small A or big A icon, respectively, to do so.

How to Sign a PDF Document on Mac

One of the easiest ways to sign a form or PDF document on Mac is to use the Preview app. Preview is the default macOS application for working with images, PDFs, and other documents and is pretty easy to use.

Signing a PDF Document on Mac Using Preview

Below are the steps to sign PDF documents in Preview:

  1. Go to the folder with the PDF document you want to sign electronically.
  2. Right-click on it and choose Open With > Preview.
  3. Tap on the Show Markup Toolbar icon to reveal markup options.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Mac
  4. Click on the icon that reads Sign (with a signature icon). Alternatively, you can select Camera to scan your physical signature or iPhone to draw out the signature on your iPhone’s screen.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Mac
  5. Tap on Click Here to Begin to change the pointer.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Mac
  6. Use the trackpad/mouse to draw out your signature. Press any key when you’re done signing your name.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Mac
  7. Tap on Done to save your signature. If you want, you can also label your signature by clicking on the dropdown button next to Description and selecting an option from the list.
  8. Once you’ve created your signature, simply tap on the Sign icon, select the signature, and drag it to the signature field on the PDF document to sign it.
    electronically sign a PDF document on Mac

After you’ve placed your signature on the PDF, Preview gives you the option to resize it and change its color to your preference. For this, tap on the appropriate options in the toolbar to change the signature color to your preference.

Other Ways to Sign PDFs on Mac and Windows

Besides using dedicated PDF programs on your Mac or Windows PC, you can also use online PDF tools for signing PDFs electronically. Below are some of the best online PDF tools to sign a PDF:

One of the biggest advantages of these tools is that they work irrespective of your computer and its operating system, and you don’t need to install them on your machine to use them.

While this adds convenience, you must be wary of using these tools as using them requires you to upload your PDF. So if it’s some sensitive piece of document that you want to sign, you must avoid using online tools and stick to the offline ones instead.

Successfully Signing PDF Documents on macOS and Windows

If you followed the steps in the guide correctly, you should’ve successfully signed the PDF document on your macOS or Windows computer by now.

Of course, several other PDF apps and programs can help you sign PDF forms and documents on Mac and Windows. But as we see it, the ones demonstrated in this guide should work absolutely fine and have you covered on all the essential fronts you’d need to sign PDFs electronically.

FAQs About Signing a PDF Document

Signing PDF documents is dependent entirely on the device and the operating system it's running. For instance, if you're on Windows, you can use Microsoft Edge or Adobe Acrobat Reader DC to sign your PDFs, whereas if you're on Mac, Preview is the best tool to sign a PDF document.

To paste a signature into a PDF on Preview, first, open the document/form you want to sign electronically in Preview. Next, tap the Show Markup Toolbar icon to reveal markup options and click on the Sign button. Finally, click on the signature to add it to the document.

In case you don't have a signature already, follow the steps in the "Signing a PDF Document Using Preview" to find out the steps to create a signature.

It depends on what device you're using. If you're on Mac, you can use Preview to sign your PDFs, whereas, on Windows, you need to use third-party PDF tools like Adobe Acrobat.

Of course, there are several other PDF editing tools—including online PDF signing tools—that you can also use to sign a PDF if you want more control over your signatures.

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