MacMost Now 701: Signing Documents With Preview

With Preview in Lion, you can record your signature in Preview and then apply it to PDF files and other documents. Use your Mac's camera to take a picture of your signature. Add a variety of signatures and other stamps to your Preview preferences and use them with the annotations feature.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode I wanna show you how to use the Signatures feature in Preview. So, if you ever had to do this, get a document by email, you have to print it out, sign it, scan it back in and email it back. Well, you don't need to do that. You can use Preview to actually place a signature on a document without ever having to print it out. So, what you need to do is go to Preview to Preferences and go from General to Signatures here and click on Create signature and this brings up the special window then you could see through your eye sight camera whatever camera you have hooked up to your Mac and have it point it out at a piece of paper a white peace of paper with your signature on it. Sign it in nice dark black ink and then notice that how the signature previews on the right really does a good job of isolating the signature from the surrounding area. And then when you get a good look at it then you hit accept and then you will see your signature recorded there. So, here we are in preview with the document opened we are gonna want to put our signature here at the bottom of this letter. So, the way we do that is we go into view and we turn on the annotations bar and in the annotations bar we've got a signature menu here and we can create a new signature and manage our existing signatures as well or we can choose the signature that we just created. Now we have cross here we select the position for the signature and click and it places it in there. We can adjust it then, we can scale it. If you got a type of pdf document that actually has a space for signature it will automatically scale it to fit that size. So, now that we have got that signature in there we can save that document and it will have that signature inside the pdf. If you go into manage signatures, you can see the signature there and the time it was saved.umm you can select it and remove it, you can add a new one so say you and your spouse's signature or you have to put initials or actually if there is any kind of graphic that you want at time insert it like say watermark or a stamp of some sort you can use this functionality to add it to a pdf using preview. So, using the signature functionality in preview it can save you a lot of time and paper if you send documents back and forth digitally. Hope you found this useful. Till next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.
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Comments: 15 Responses to “MacMost Now 701: Signing Documents With Preview”

    Shirley Allan
    4/25/12 @ 1:01 pm

    Hi Gary,
    I’ve used this to put signatures in Mail but found out that some Windows folks could see it and some not depending on their operating system. I solved this by making a screen shot of the signature and now I can use my real signature in Apple’s Mail.

    4/26/12 @ 10:57 am

    Hi Gary,

    I made my signature and when I put a document in preview I went up to the tool bar and clicked on view but did not see the annotate button. There was one in the tools section but nothing would highlight to use it.
    Was there an upgrade to my mac that might have included that and I don’t have it on mine?
    Thanks for your help!

      4/26/12 @ 11:09 am

      Perhaps the document you are trying to use can’t be edited or annotated?

    Gary M
    4/26/12 @ 5:13 pm

    Excellent tip. Thanks for sharing.

    Dirk Kemp
    4/27/12 @ 3:06 am

    This is an amazingly useful tip – thank you. Very handy to be able to choose between signature and initials, etc.

    One question: in the video you mention that you can use pretty much any image, even for a watermark. Does it have to be added via the Mac camera, or is there a way of using an existing image file for this purpose?

      4/27/12 @ 6:42 am

      As far as I know you need to use the Mac camera. But if you have a regular image file, you can just copy and paste it into the document without using this feature at all.

    5/1/12 @ 5:06 pm

    is there any way I can do this in Snow Leopard?

      5/1/12 @ 5:31 pm

      I think this is a new feature in Lion. I can’t remember if it is in SL’s Preview.

    Marion Rosetzky
    5/2/12 @ 1:37 am


    Thanks, however when I show the annotation tool bar, it does not have a signature pop up button. In fact a few of the buttons showing on your video are missing.
    Mac OS 10.7.3

      5/2/12 @ 6:36 am

      When in Preview, if you go to Preview, About Preview, which version number does it show?

        Marion Rosetzky
        5/3/12 @ 12:30 am

        Thanks Gary. Problem solved. You answered in a previous question. The document was not editable. I tried with another PDF which then produced the signature button.

    6/18/12 @ 11:07 pm

    Hey all I have a big problem, I just brought a new macbook 17 and I’ve been using preview to sign offers and other documents and suddenly today when I open preview to apply my signature the option is gone! What happened to it?????

      6/19/12 @ 7:35 am

      It is still there. Perhaps you are looking in the wrong place?

    10/2/12 @ 1:01 pm

    I have done this before. but now i am having difficulty. when i open the doc. in preview and go to view the annotation tool is greyed out. what can i do?

      10/2/12 @ 2:10 pm

      Sounds like the PDF is protected somehow and doesn’t allow for annotations.

Comments Closed.