How to add electronic signature to PDF

On: December 19, 2020

Gone are the days when you had to take a print out, physically sign and then scan it before sending it to someone on email. Now, you can digitally sign any document without growing through that hassle. This feature has come handy for a lot of people during the lockdown when they are at home and away from a printer or scanner.

Also Read: How to convert PDF to document in Google Docs

Suppose you have been sent a document on email and are required to add a digital signature to a PDF. The easiest solution is to go for an electronic signature, which is also arguably the fastest way to esign a document or PDF right now.

How to create your electronic signature

Electronic Signature

You can use a touchscreen or a stylus to directly draw on your screen with compatible devices (Photo: Adobe)

Before we get to the topic of how to add your electronic signature to any document, it is important to create one. It is now easier than ever to create your electronic signature. Earlier, the process was signing on a piece of white paper, scanning it to your PC and then cropping to a usable JPG format. Now, you can do that using a plethora of applications and tools available for a range of platforms.

  • Draw your signature: The most effective way to create your electronic signature right now is to draw your signature using your finger or a stylus. You can do that directly on the document with compatible applications. This comes handy when you try to sign on a mobile device. You can even use a tool like Evernote to create your digital signature and keep it in the cloud.
  • Upload an image: This is the most widely used method to create your electronic signature. You can use your phone or camera or a scanner to capture a picture of your paper signature. It can then be converted into a .png file for use on documents.
  • Use your cursor to draw the signature: On a PC or a Mac, you can also use your mouse or your touchpad to draw your cursor along the signature line to create your own electronic signature.
  • Type using your keyboard: It is not necessary for your electronic signature to look like your paper signature. It can even be your name, which is acknowledged as an e-signature. Select a font that is acceptable and type your name into the signature field.

How to add electronic signature to PDF file

In order to add an e signature to a PDF document, all you need is access to a computer with a web browser like Google Chrome and stable internet connection. On a PDF document, you can type, draw or insert an image of your handwritten signature. There is also an option to add additional text such as your name, company title or date of signature. When you click on save, the newly added details become part of the document. Here is how.

  1. Go to Adobe Acrobat Reader’s Fill and Sign a PDF online page.
  2. Click on the “Select a file” option.

    Electronic Sign

    Select the file you want to sign electronically

  3. Select the file you want to sign electronically.
  4. Now the file will get uploaded and Adobe will ask you to sign in with Google, Apple or Adobe account.

    Electronic Sign

    Now sign into using Adobe, Google or Apple account or create a new one

  5. Once you sign in, the document will load and all you need to do is click on the “Sign” button at the top.

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    On the PDF file, select the sign icon seen at the top toolbar

  6. This will let you insert your name as a signature.

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    Here is a look at your signature and you can scale or resize it

How to sign PDF on Windows or Mac using Adobe Reader

  1. Open the PDF document or the form that you want to sign.
  2. Click on the Sign icon in the toolbar. You can also go to tools and select Fill & Sign or choose Fill & Sign option from the right pane.

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    Click on the Sign icon in the toolbar

  3. You will now see the Fill & Sign tool and click on Fill and sign option.

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    Select Fill and sign option in the next window

  4. The form fields are automatically detected. Now, hover the mouse to a field to display a blue box. Click anywhere on this blue box and a cursor will be placed at the right position automatically. Type your text to fill the field.

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    The form fields are automatically selected by the tool

  5. The default signature colour is black but you can change the colour of your signature by clicking on the colour button in the Fill & Sign menu.

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    The colour of your signature by default is black but you can change it

  6. Click on the Sign icon in the toolbar and then choose whether you want to add signature or initial to the document.

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    Select Add a Signature or initial option

  7. If you have already added your signature or initials, then it will be automatically shown, just select it from the Sign options and then click at the place where you want to add your signature.
  8. If you are signing for the first time then you will see the Signature or initials panel where you can add the details and click apply.
  9. You can move your signature or initials by clicking on the field to highlight and then use arrow keys to move. You can also resize or delete the field by using the options in the field toolbar.

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    Finally, you can add your signature everytime using this tool

How to sign PDF on Android or iOS

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Adobe Acrobat is a free and easy to use tool for electronic signatures on mobile

  1. Download Adobe Acrobat from Google Play Store or App Store.
  2. Open PDF File that you want to sign.
  3. Click on the pen symbol at the bottom toolbar or lower right corner.
  4. Click on Fill & Sign option
  5. If you have already added your signature then it will automatically show the sign and let you add it to the PDF.
  6. For those signing for the first time, there will be an option to create a signature.
  7. Now, place the signature wherever you want to place on the PDF and scale using the arrow keys.

Digital Signature vs Electronic signature: what’s the difference?

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There is a big difference between electronic signature and digital signature (Photo: Unsplash)

It is important to establish the difference between electronic signature and digital signature since they vary in a big way. This article will help you understand how to accomplish electronic signatures on your documents. However, digital signatures are different mainly in the sense of security.

A digital signature is cryptographically secure, meaning that you have verified the document and have authorized the same using your private signing key. In other words, it is much secure and thus complicated. Most of the documents that you receive on mail would have electronic signatures and not digital signatures. An electronic signature, in comparison, is basically a digital image of your signature, placed on top of a PDF or a document.

Think of it like placing a watermark on an image. In this case, you are placing your signature instead of a watermark on a document instead of an image. A number of businesses have now started accepting electronic signatures, eliminating the time usually taken to sign, scan and resend documents. If you are going to e-sign a document then know that it is not secure but is convenient and accepted by organizations and businesses.

How to add a secure digital signature to any document

Digital Signature

Select the name of your digital ID provider to sign the document

Digital signatures are the most advanced and secure way to sign documents with an electronic signature. It includes your trusted digital ID, your own digital signature and the PDF document are encrypted, easy to validate and unique to you. Here is how to add a digital signature using Adobe.

On a PDF document, click on the review link and opt to sign PDFs digitally. You will need to click on the “click here to review and sign” section. Now, choose to sign with a cloud signature and select the name of your digital ID certificate provider. Sign into your digital ID provider and select your digital ID and select “Next” to apply the digital signature.

Now, preview the signature or click on edit signature to manually add a signature using mouse or touchscreen. The next step is to authenticate the signature by selecting the “Click to Sign” option and entering your digital ID provider’s PIN and one-time passcode. Once the authentication is complete, your document is digitally signed and the final document can be mailed to the sender.