How to Sign a PDF on Mac, With Photos

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How to Sign a PDF on Mac, With Photos

Signing a PDF on a Mac can be a huge timesaver. You won’t need to print out a document, sign it, and scan it back to the computer. Fortunately, all Macs have a free, built-in program called Preview. It enables you to edit photos and PDF files quickly.

However, it does have some limitations. Plus, not everyone will accept a digitally signed document. For more advanced tasks like editing lines of text, it is best to use Adobe Acrobat. With that in mind, Preview has some other convenient features that make adding text or sticky notes possible.

Step 1: Open Preview

You can find Preview in Launchpad, or search for it if necessary.


The first thing you need to do to sign a PDF on a Mac is open Preview.

Step 2: Select the Document

The file will open in the full Preview window with all the available options.


Once you open the Preview, you should see a Finder window. Use this to locate the file you want to sign. Once you find the file, select it and click the “Open” button.

Alternatively, you could skip steps 1 and 2 by locating the file in Finder and opening it in Preview.

Step 3: Choose Fill and Sign

The sign button looks like a pen pointing upwards.


With the document opened in Preview, select the Fill and Sign button at the top of the window. Once you click the button, another menu bar will appear below.

Step 4: Create Signature

You can use the trackpad, an iPhone, or even Mac’s webcam to take a picture of your signature on a piece of paper.


Next, you need to create a signature. Do this by clicking on the signature icon in the menu mentioned in step 3. A box will open with three different options to create a signature.

Step 5: Add Signature

You can make any other changes and add signatures elsewhere if necessary.


After you create the signature, drag it into the document. Move it around, resize it as needed, and place it wherever you need it. Once the signature is placed, click anywhere on the document to deselect the signature box.

Step 6: Save or Export PDF

Exporting the document as a new PDF will keep the original separate.


Once you make changes and add signatures, you save the document or export it. Do this by going to the “File” button on the top menu bar and selecting the “Export” option from the dropdown menu. Name the document and choose a location to save the file. Click “Save” to finish editing the document and save the new file.

Check out the video below for a quick walk through of the process.

Fill Out a Document

Even though you can’t use Preview on a Mac to edit the actual words in a PDF file, you can add text. Simply follow the steps above, but choose the text box in step 4 rather than the signature option. You can then type in whatever you need to add and move the text box around the document. Create a new text box for each line and section that needs filling. When you are done, save the PDF file, and you are good to go.


Signing a document in Preview on a Mac is super easy and convenient. Just keep in mind that not everyone will accept a digitally signed document. If unsure, it is always best to go with the old-fashioned way of printing out the document and signing it. If there are a lot of pages, but only a few need to be signed, print out the ones with signatures and add those scanned copies back into the document. That will at least save some paper and ink.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will people recognize a signature created in Preview?

Some will, but not everyone accepts digitally created signatures, while others may require you to use a special e-signing program.

Is a signature in Preview the same as e-signing?

Sort of, signing a document in Preview does create an “e-signature” but what most businesses consider e-signing is a little different and more secure.

How do you sign with an iPhone in Preview?

You may have noticed the option to create a signature with an iPhone. This lets you use the phone’s screen as a touchpad to draw the signature.

Can you edit a document in Preview?

You cannot modify the text of a PDF file in Preview. However, you can add text boxes and draw with markers and highlighters. To make changes, you will need a program like Adobe Acrobat.

Do I need Adobe Acrobat to sign a PDF?

Maybe, some places may require you to sign a document with Acrobat’s signature tool. So, be sure to check with whomever you are signing the document for first to make sure it is acceptable.

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