How to Sign PDF for Free

July 31, 2023975 views

You’ve been emailed a document, and you have to sign it and send it back. You could print out the document, sign it, and then scan it back in and email it. But there’s a better, faster way.

We’ll show you how to quickly add your signature to any PDF document, saving it as a standard PDF file that can be read anywhere. You can do this on Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Chrome OS, Linux—whatever platform you prefer.

These step by step instructions explain how to sign a PDF. Our free online signature tool allows you to sign PDF online (plus Word, IMG, TXT, XLS) with ease and, even better, it's 100% free with no registration required!

Steps to Sign PDF for Free

First, let’s straighten out some terminology. A digital signature is cryptographically secure and verifies that someone with your private signing key (in other words, you) has seen the document and authorized it. It’s very secure, but also complicated.

An electronic signature, on the other hand, is merely an image of your signature overlaid on top of a PDF document. You can do it with all kinds of apps, and it’s what most people will require when they send you a document to sign. Send them a PDF file with a digital signature and they won’t know what to make of it. For many businesses, simply accepting signed documents by email rather than forcing you to fax them is a huge technological leap.

So sure, the below methods aren’t perfectly secure—but neither is printing something, scribbling over it with a pen, and then scanning it again. At least this is faster!

Windows: Use Adobe Reader

While Adobe Reader isn’t the most lightweight PDF viewer, it is one of the most feature-packed, and actually has excellent support for signing PDF documents. Other third-party PDF readers may offer this feature, but they generally require you purchase a paid version before using their signature features.

To sign a document using Adobe Reader, first open the PDF document in the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC application. 

Step1

Click the “Fill & Sign” button in the right pane.

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Step2

Click the “Sign” button on the toolbar and select “Add Signature” to add your signature to Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

If you need to add other information to the document, you can use the other buttons on the toolbar to do so. For example, you can type text or add checkmarks to fill in forms using buttons on the Fill & Sign toolbar.

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You can create a signature in one of three ways. By default, Adobe Reader selects “Type” so you can type your name and have it converted to a signature. This won’t look like your real signature, so it probably isn’t ideal.

Instead, you’ll probably want to select “Draw” and then draw your signature using your mouse or a touch screen. You can also select “Image” if you’d like to sign a piece of paper, scan it with a scanner, and then add your written signature to Adobe Reader. (Yes, this requires scanning, but you only have to do this once, after which you can use that signature on any documents you electronically sign in the future.)

Step3

After creating a signature, click “Apply” to apply it to the document. Leave “Save Signature” checked and you can quickly add this signature in the future.

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Position your signature where you want it with your mouse and click to apply it. If you chose to save your signature, you’ll find it easily accessible in the “Sign” menu in the future.

Step4

To save your signed PDF document, click File > Save and select a location for the file.

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Conclusion

WPS Office allows you to sign an unlimited number of documents for free. It can even capture pictures of paper documents with your camera, so you can create digital copies of paper forms. You can sign a document by writing on your touch screen with a finger or stylus, and they also allow you to type text into PDF documents to fill them in.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.