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How to sign PDF documents on Mac

PDFs are one of the most common formats for sending and receiving important documents. And electronic signatures have cut hours from the traditional approval process. Adding a simple signature to a PDF document on your macOS (Mac OS X) computer is easier than ever.

In this article, we’ll cover two ways of signing PDFs – using Mac’s pre-installed Apple Preview app or using modern software like PandaDoc. Generally speaking, Preview is sufficient for those that only want very basic eSignature functionality. Alternatively, if you want a broader set of features and more sophisticated security, a smart app might be the way to go.

Let’s take a look at each.

How to sign a PDF on Mac with Preview

To add an electronic signature to a PDF document using Apple Preview, follow the steps below:

  1. Locate the PDF document you want to sign. Right-click and select Open with and Preview.
  2. Click the Show Markup Tool icon (of a blue tip of a pen in a small circle) and select the Sign button.
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts. You have two options to create signatures:
    • Use your trackpad to hand-draw a signature.
    • Using your camera by handwriting e a signature on a blank piece of paper and holding it up to the camera.
  4. Once you are happy with the signature click Done, select the signature you wish to use and drag it to the appropriate area in the document. Your signature will be saved for future use.

Should you use special software?

If you require a wider set of features than those offered in Preview, you may want to consider using an application or software. Either of them have the following benefits:

They can be used with different document formats

Modern tools enable you to quickly add fully-secure signatures to a variety of documents – whether Microsoft Word, PDF, Google Docs, and more – without the need to use the specific tools available in individual pieces of software.

They enable you to sign across devices

Modern tools are compatible across devices, allowing you to access and sign documents securely from a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer (including Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Chrome OS, Linux – whatever platform you prefer). They can even be used to sign documents in-person with a touch-screen.

Extra security is provided

Modern tools provide an extra layer of security to documents approved with electronic signatures. Whenever a recipient signs using PandaDoc, a time and date-stamped certificate that includes the signer’s name, email, and IP address is automatically generated and attached to the document.

This makes verification much easier if issues arise at a later stage. Furthermore, smart apps are usually fully compliant with legislation like ESIGN and eIDAS.

They benefit both senders and recipients

Because a solution like PandaDoc provides instantly-accessible documents to recipients, most senders find they acquire signatures in a fraction of the time it usually takes. Signees simply need to click on a box and type in their name, without any knowledge of how to use signature software. Companies that use smart signature tools often see a significant boost to their close rate.

How to sign a PDF on Mac with PandaDoc

To add a signature to a PDF document on Mac using PandaDoc, just follow the steps below:

  1. Log into the PandaDoc app and click on the “New Document” button.
  2. Upload the document you want to sign by either dragging it into the upload area or clicking Choose A Local File.
  3. Once the document has uploaded, it will be visible in the PandaDoc editor.
  4. Select the Signature block from the menu on the right of the screen and drag it to the area of the document you wish to sign.
  5. Click on the signature box and select yourself as the recipient. You may need to add your details if they are not already saved.
  6. Click again on the signature box and enter your signature by either choosing a digital signature already created, hand-drawing the signature, or uploading it manually.
  7. Click the Complete button and download the document in your desired format or send it directly back to the original sender using PandaDoc.


Modern tools offer an array of features not included in Preview. If you regularly sign documents electronically, then opting for a solution like PandaDoc can save you a significant amount of time.

Along with the option to enter your signature in multiple ways – by drawing, typing, uploading an image, etc. – you can also effortlessly sign documents across multiple formats and devices. And because of the additional security features, all of your documents will have a complete, securely-stored paper trail should any future verification issues arise.

If you would like to give PandaDoc a test-drive, you can sign up for a completely free 14-day trial.