How to Sign a PDF Document on Mac

Mac Signature Hero

The next time you need to sign a PDF on your Mac, do not reach for your printer and a pen. You can use the Preview app that is built in to every Mac to fill out and sign just about any PDF document using a few simple steps. Best of all, there is a digital signature workflow that is effective for everyone, whether you would like to use pen and paper, your Mac’s built-in trackpad, or your iPad with Apple Pencil.

Adding your signature to a document using Preview is just one of the more than 10 ways that you can improve your Mac experience with macOS Ventura.

How to Sign a PDF Using the Trackpad

Every Mac ships with macOS, and every version of macOS includes the Preview app. You can use Preview to create and import signatures, sign PDFs, and export PDF documents. Use the following steps to open a PDF in Preview.

  1. Unless you have specified otherwise, Preview is the default app that all PDF documents will open in on your Mac. If that is the case, simply double-click your document to open it in Preview.
  1. If Preview is not your default PDF editor, perform a two-finger click on your document, then select “Open With -> Preview.”
Signature Doc Preview
  1. Locate the toolbar above your PDF document in Preview and click on the Markup tool highlighted below to reveal more options. Select the “Sign” button, also outlined below, to add your signature.
Signature Markup Sign
  1. To use your Mac’s built-in or standalone trackpad to add your signature, simply click on the button labeled “Click Here To Begin,” then use your finger to sign your name. You can add a description using the drop-down menu or click “Done.”
Signature Click Here Description

Tip: if your Mac has a Force Touch trackpad, you can press more firmly with your finger to sign your name with a bolder stroke.

  1. Hover over your signature in the toolbar, then click on it to add it to your document. You can drag your signature around with your cursor, just as would a text box, to place it wherever you would like.
Signature Drag And Drop

If you prefer to write out your signature using a traditional pen and paper you can use your Mac’s built-in webcam to scan and import your signature directly into any document in Preview.

Good to know: do you get irritated with that floating screenshot window in the corner of your Mac? You can get rid of it by following this guide.

How to Sign a PDF Using the FaceTime Camera

  1. Following step #3 above, simply select “Camera” from the list of signature options.
Signature Mac Camera
  1. Print your signature on a blank piece of white paper, then follow the onscreen instructions to position your signature for scanning. When you are finished scanning your signature, click the “Done” button.
Signature Mac Done

How To Sign a PDF Using Your iPhone or iPad

If you prefer to use your iPhone or iPad to sign a PDF document on your Mac, you can do so very easily. Just be sure that you have your iPhone or iPad nearby. For even greater accuracy, you can use an Apple Pencil to sign your signature on your iPad before transferring it to your Mac.

  1. Following the same step #3 above, select “iPhone or iPad” from the list of signature options.
Signature Iphone Ipad
  1. Click on the button that reads “Select Device,” then choose from any of your iOS devices.
Signature Select Device
  1. Print your signature on your iPhone using your finger or on an iPad using an Apple Pencil. Your signature will be automatically transcribed to your Mac.
Signature Capture Iphone Ipad
  1. When you are finished writing your signature, click the “Done” button on your Mac.
Signature Done

How to Export a Signed PDF From Preview

After you are finished signing your PDF, you can export a signed copy for your records or to share using Preview.

  1. While using the Preview app, navigate to the Menu Bar and select “File -> Export” from the drop-down menu options.
Signature Mac File Export 1
  1. Click the “Save” button shown below to save your signed PDF document.
Img 1307

Tip: if you are looking to protect any sensitive documents that you have signed from prying eyes, you can follow our guide to discover how to hide files, folders, and desktop icons on Mac.

Frequently Asked Questions

I cannot find the Preview app on my Mac. Did I accidentally delete it?

Don’t worry, it’s not possible to accidentally delete the Preview app. If you are having trouble finding Preview it may be hiding in the “Other” app folder that is accessible via the Launchpad. If you still cannot find Preview, try activating Spotlight by pressing the space bar and the command key at the same time, then type in “Preview” and hit the return key to immediately launch Preview.

What else can I do with PDF documents using the Preview app?

You can use Preview to rotate, markup, print, and even quickly fill out forms using the “Form Filling” button in the toolbar. You can even use the built-in search bar to search for keywords in a document. Read on if you’re looking to combine a couple of scanned documents together into one PDF,

Can I delete a saved signature in the Preview app?

Yes. Simply hover over the signature that you would like to delete with your cursor, then click the “X” to the right. This ensures that your signature is deleted from all of your Mac computers that use iCloud Drive.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Brahm Shank.

Brahm Shank
Brahm Shank

Self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur and tech enthusiast Brahm Shank is captivated by the impact of consumer tech: “It’s profoundly moving when people discover that the phone in their pocket or the tiny computer on their wrist has the power to enrich their lives in ways they never imagined.” Apple, Inc. and its unique position at the intersection of technology and the creative arts, resonates deeply with Brahm and his passion for helping people unleash their potential using technology. Over the years, Brahm has held various podcasts - including famed technologist David Pogue of The New York Times on topics such as Big Tech and digital wellness.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox