Using Digital PDF Signatures in Preview

Each release of OS X has brought with it added PDF features in Preview, the Mac’s built in image and PDF app. In Mountain Lion, it is one of the most powerful PDF apps available, rivaling even Adobe Acrobat in many ways. One of more useful new features is the ability to create a digital version of your signature that can be placed into a PDF.

Creating a signature

Start by signing your name on a blank sheet of white paper.
Next, open Preview, and choose PREVIEW, PREFERENCES in the menu bar. Click SIGNATURES in the Preferences window.
Click CREATE SIGNATURE. This will activate your Mac’s iSight camera. Hold the paper with your signature up to the camera so that your signature rests on the blue line in the camera preview on your screen. You will see a preview of how your signature will look to the right. Once it looks the way you want, click ACCEPT.
Click the plus sign  in the lower left of the Signatures window to add another signature, or close the Signature window if you are finished.

Adding your signature to a PDF

Open the PDF in Preview, then click  in the toolbar (or press Shift-⌘-A) to show the Edit Toolbar.

Now click  in the Edit Toolbar, then choose your signature from the drop-down list.
Click and drag on the document where you want your signature placed. Drag out to make your signature larger, or in to make it smaller. When your signature is the right size, release the click, then click in the middle of the signature to drag and fine tune the position of the signature.
Jason Merrill, Mac & iOS Consultant

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2 thoughts on “Using Digital PDF Signatures in Preview

  1. Minor hitch with Preview 6.0.1 under OS 10.8.5. Say you have three signatures you did. After creating the one you now want to use, in a new PDF unrelated to the one in which you created this signature, if you drop down the list the check might be set to any of the three. If at this point you don’t move the check to one of the other three, but go with the one you found checked, when you move the cursor
    out into the document, it stays an arrow—does not change to a cross hair. The solution seems to be that you drop the the list again and select one of the other three—not the one you want. You go with that one and things work the way they should. Leave that one in the doc and drop the list again and select the one you want. Now it does what it should. Select the one you don’t want and delete. Now you are where you want to be—the one you want working the way it should.

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