When someone sends you an important contract or document electronically, it can be kind of a pain in the butt to sign and send it back to them – You need to print it out, sign it, put it in an envelope, pay for shipping, head to the post office and mail it back to the sender the old-fashioned way. This isn’t the worst thing in the world if your home or office happens to be right near the post office but can become a major inconvenience if travel and time off also needs to be factored in.
Luckily, technology has come a long way in the last few years. There are now plenty of tools available on the market that give you the ability to apply your signature to important PDF documents without ever needing to print them out.
We’ve scoured the internet for the best of the best and have come up with the best tool out there for a variety of different devices. Broken down into individual sections, we’re going to show you what to use and give you a quick rundown on how to do it so that you don’t end up wasting hours trying to figure it out.
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What You Need: Adobe Reader
Adobe Reader isn’t exactly the smallest software on the market, but you really can’t beat it when it comes to handy features that nearly everyone who deals with documents on a regular basis is going to want. The interface is super straightforward and the program itself supports the editing and signing of PDF documents flawlessly.
How to use it
Ir really couldn’t be any easier – Simply open the document you need to sign and click the button on the right titled “Fill and Sign”. You can type, draw, or import your signature depending on your needs.
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What You Need: Nothing! Your system came equipped with Preview!
Preview came integrated into your operating system and comes equipped with document signing features built right in. This makes you a lot luckier than Windows users – You don’t even have to download anything.
image credit: Macrumors
How to use it
Open up the document with the application; click on the “Show Markup Toolbar” (that’s the one that looks like a little toolbox); click sign and use your method of choice (options below).
MacBooks are known for their spectacular trackpads, and they most certainly come in handy here. Signing a PDF document with your Mac is as simple as drawing out your John Hancock with your finger. If you’ve got one of those fancy, pressure-sensitive ‘force touch’ pads, you may as well be using your smoothest pen.
If drawing out your signature on an electronic device isn’t for you, you could always take a picture of your signature and use that instead.
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What You Need: Depends on what you want to be able to do
Things get a little more complicated with this operating system because the official version of Adobe Reader has been discontinued for a little while now. If you’re okay with using a browser-based tool, HelloSign (which will be discussed in further detail below) should suit you just fine. If you’d rather have a reliable application installed directly on your desktop, Xournal might be more your style.
How to use it
Details on how to use HelloSign can be found below. If you’d like to try it out, click here.
For Xournal, you’re going to have to put your signature on a piece of paper so that you can upload it (the application doesn’t allow you to sign documents per say, but it does let you upload pictures to them which makes this the only way it’ll work). Pro Tip: You want to make sure that your signature is either on a blank white piece of paper or has a transparent background for best results. Use a photo editing program such as GIMP to get the best results.
Just open the PDF, click on tools and then the image menu options, insert your signature and you’re good to go! You might have to play around with the image a little in order to get it to fit into the signature field properly, but that’s super easy to do.
What You Need: HelloSign
There are a ton of browser-based PDF signing tools out there, but if you’re using a Chromebook (or Linux system; see above), HelloSign is probably your best bet. You can even download their application – which integrates flawlessly with your Google Drive – for extended functionality and easier access. It’s perfect for those that just have to sign the odd document – You get three per month for free, but after that, you have to pay if you want to keep using it.
How to use it
Since the interface couldn’t be more self-explanatory – it’s really as simple as clicking a couple of buttons – your biggest issue will be deciding which type of signature you’re going to use.
You can choose between drawing your signature or uploading a picture of it. Once your document is signed and ready to be sent off, you can easily email it to the recipient and/or download a copy for your own records. It really couldn’t get any easier than HelloSign makes it!
What You Need: You’ve got options!
If you primarily receive documents that need to be signed via email, you can actually use the markup feature in your mail app in order to sign and send them back. Pro tip: If you’re also a Mac user, you can sync your signature from Preview (see above) to save you even more time.
If you need to be able to sign PDF documents from other places as well, you’re going to need to download an additional application. Adobe Fill & Sign seems to fit the bill nicely as it gives you the ability to sign as many documents as you need to without ever having to pay a cent. It also comes brimming with other handy features (one of which is described in greater detail in the next section).
How to use it
Use the markup tool by opening the PDF attachment in your email, clicking on ‘Markup and Reply’ (again, it’ll be the one that’s shaped like a miniature toolbox; Apple is nothing if not consistent), tapping the signature button (it’ll be on the bottom, left-hand side), signing and editing as necessary, and clicking ‘Done’. Compose the body of your email however you need to and send it off to whoever the recipient is; bang, boom, done.
To use Adobe Fill & Sign, simply find your PDF file and share it to the Adobe app. Then all you need to do is sign it and share it back. Super simple and couldn’t be more affordable, what more could you want?
Android Device Users (Phones & Tablets)
What You Need: Adobe Fill & Sign
Android devices don’t come with such a nifty built-in tool, so users need to rely on additional applications like Adobe Fill & Sign. Explained above, it has everything you need to sign and send back PDF documents quickly and easily. In addition to the unlimited signing, there’s a handy feature that allows you the opportunity to make digital copies of your paper documents with your device’s camera and sign them electronically as well (for your own records or to potentially get them off to a company faster. This took also works fantastically well for keeping track of various warranties and receipts).
How to use it
Signing documents on an Android device with this tool is remarkably simple. All you need to do is open your PDF in the application and click the signature button, then sign. If you need to send the document to another application, all you need to do is click on the handy ‘Share’ button. It’s safe to say that nearly everyone with an Android device should have this application installed, even if they don’t need to sign PDF documents. You can learn more about Adobe Fill & Sign and download the app to your device here.
Is the PDF signing tool you use on this list. If not, which one do you use and why would you recommend it?