How to Sign a PDF on Mac

The easiest ways to get your signature on a PDF

Signing a PDF file on Mac can be a slightly more convoluted process than you'd expect if you're used to standard text files or Word documents. Fortunately, macOS has a number of ways you can add your signature to a PDF, all through native tools rather than requiring you to download dedicated apps. 

Here's everything you need to know about how to sign documents on Mac.

Want to edit a PDF file more extensively than simply by signing it? There are numerous ways in which to do this, as well as dedicated apps for the process.

How to Sign a PDF With the Trackpad Using Preview

The Mac's built-in Preview app is a surprisingly powerful tool for editing many different types of documents. It's also great for signing PDFs. It offers a couple of different ways to sign a PDF including using your Mac's trackpad to do so. Here's how to do it.

If your Mac has a Force Touch trackpad, you can press your finger more firmly on the trackpad to sign with a heavier and darker line. 

  1. Open the PDF file in Preview. 

    Macs open PDF files in Preview by default so you should be able to simply double-click the file. Alternatively, right-click the file, then click Open With > Preview.

  2. Click Show Markup Toolbar.

    Preview app with Markup Toolbar icon highlighted
  3. Click Signature.

    Preview App with Markup Toolbar showing and highlighting Signature icon
  4. Click Click Here to Begin.

    Preview app with Signature dialog showing
  5. Draw your signature with the trackpad of your laptop. 

    Any movement becomes part of the signature so try to keep your gestures natural, slow, and steady. Additionally, if your Mac has a Force Touch trackpad, you can press your finger more firmly on the trackpad to sign with a heavier and darker line. Press any key once done.

  6. Click Done.

    Preview app with Signature dialog showing
  7. Click your created signature, then drag it to where it needs to be within the document. 

    Placing a signature on a document within the Preview app
  8. Click away from it for it to stay in that position. 

Changed your mind? Just click the signature again to be able to drag it around.

How to Sign a PDF With the Camera Using Preview

Alternatively, if you don't want to use the trackpad to draw your signature, you can also use the Mac's built-in camera to sign a PDF. It's a similar process to using the trackpad but with some key differences. Here's how.

Once you've completed this process, you can re-use a signature by choosing it from the Signature menu. If you use iCloud Drive, it's also saved to all other Macs you have synced up with your account.

  1. Open the PDF file in Preview. 

    Macs open PDF files in Preview by default so you should be able to simply double-click the file. Alternatively, right-click the file, then click Open With > Preview.

  2. Click Show Markup Toolbar.

  3. Click Signature.

    Preview app with Create Signature highlighted

    If you've already created a signature via the trackpad, you need to then click Create Signature.

  4. Click Camera.

    Preview app with Camera highlighted
  5. Draw your signature on paper and hold it up to the camera and the blue line.

    The picture will look inverted, but Preview will adjust it so it reads correctly once sufficiently scanned. 

  6. Hold the sheet of paper still for a few seconds until the Mac reads the paper correctly.

  7. Once the image appears, click Done to save the signature.

    Preview app with a signature scanned in via the camera part of Signature
  8. Click Signature again and choose the signature.

    Preview app with a selection of signatures highlighted
  9. Drag it to where it needs to be within the document.

  10. Click away from it for it to stay in that position. 

Don't want to keep your signature stored on your Mac? Hover over the signature then click the x when it appears.