How to Easily Sign PDFs on a Mac

Alexander Almegaard
3 min readJul 9, 2015

Several times I’ve caught a colleague printing out a contract, only to sign it and scan it. This made me realize that not a lot of people know the built in signature feature in Preview on a Mac.

Let’s all try and save some paper and optimise our workflows.

What you need:

  • A Mac (running OS X Lion or a newer version).
  • A black pen.
  • A piece of white paper.
  • A PDF file (doesn’t matter which one).

How to:

  1. Write your signature on the paper.

2. Open the PDF file in Preview.

3. Click the Toolbox.

4. Click the arrow next to the signature icon and choose Create Signature and select Camera (you can also choose to sign with your finger on the TrackPad).

5. Hold the paper with your signature in front of the FaceTime camera.

6. Adjust the position so the signature fits the blue line.

7. Click Done.

8. Choose your new signature and click anywhere in the PDF file to paste in your signature.

9. The size can be adjusted by dragging the blue dots around your signature (the signature is vector-based and can be scaled up).

10. As an addition, you often have to add a date too. Just click the Text tool and type in the date.

That’s it. Your signature is automatically saved and ready for use. No more printing, signing and scanning. Preview also makes it possible to store more signatures.

But.. I’m on Windows. Don’t worry, it’s possible.

Originally published at on July 9, 2015.



Alexander Almegaard

Photographer and coffee nerd. Writing about photography, technology and privacy. Building digital products for the climate at ZeroNorth.