Sign PDF Files with a Digital Signature in Mac OS X Preview
The newest versions of Mac OS X brings a revamped Preview app that includes the extremely useful Digital Signature feature built right in. Using your Macs built-in front facing iSight camera to capture your signature, Preview can keep multiple electronic signatures on file which can then be appended to PDF’s as needed, allowing for a very quick and easy way to sign a document and then send it along, without having to print a file and sign it with a pen.
This feature is amazingly useful and quite easy to use. To get started, you’ll need a white piece of paper and a pen or dark pencil, you’ll sign a piece of paper which gets scanned and digitized by the Mac so that you can place it onto files. It sounds complex, but it’s not, follow the steps below and you’ll be signing PDF’s with this thing in no time at all!
Setting a Digital Signature in Mac OS X Preview
This works in OS X Mavericks, Yosemite, Lion, Mountain Lion, and beyond:
- Launch Preview, and from the Preview menu select “Preferences”
- Click on “Signatures” and then “Create Signature”
- Write your signature on a piece of white paper and hold it up to the camera, try to have it somewhat straight on the blue line and watch the “Signature Preview” pane until you are satisfied with the way it looks
- Click on “Accept” to capture the digital signature
The camera signature capture will look something like this:
Now you can access and stamp your signature onto any PDF files opened within Preview. Technically you can store multiple signatures, so if you want to set additional ones or if your signature has changed, it’s the same steps as above.
How to Use the Digital Signature in OS X Preview to Sign PDF Files
This will place the digital signature onto the PDF document which can then be saved as usual:
- Open the PDF file you want to sign
- Click on the Annotations button (pencil icon) followed by the Signatures button (see image below)
- Now click within the document where you want the signature to appear
Voila, once the PDF is signed, just save the document and it’s ready to be used.
This works quite well and it’s a lot faster than printing out, signing, then scanning or faxing a document just so you can get your signature onto something. If you haven’t set your elecronic signature yet in Mac OS X, do it, it’s a very useful feature and you’ll probably wind up using it more than you’d think.