Sign PDF Documents Without Printing and Scanning

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Need to sign a document and email it? Skip the print, sign, scan process and apply your signature electronically. It saves time, and you don’t need a printer or scanner.

All the below tools allow you type words into a document, so you can fill out forms without printing them first. This even works if the form isn’t “fillable” by typing words and position them in a place that looks correct.

Windows

Adobe Reader does an excellent job of this on Windows. You can sign a piece of paper and hold it up to your laptop’s webcam. Adobe Reader will capture that signature and turn it into a digital image, allowing you to apply it quickly to PDF documents in the future. You only need to obtain your signature in this way once and the next document you sign is just a matter of a few clicks.

Mac

The preview application included with Mac OS X has integrated document-signing features. Thanks to the trackpads integrated into MacBooks, you can draw your signature on the trackpad with one of your fingers and enter it into Preview. On a new MacBook with a “Force Touch” trackpad, this is even pressure sensitive, allowing for even more accurate signatures.

You could also just sign a piece of paper and scan it in with your webcam if you prefer creating your signature the old-fashioned way

Android

Android also offers a variety of third-party apps that can electronically sign documents. You’ll probably just want to install the Adobe Acrobat DC app (formerly Adobe Reader), which has this feature built-in.

The app all you have to do is open a PDF, long-press somewhere, and tap Signature to add. You can draw the signature on your screen with a finger.

You’ll find fancier signature apps like DocuSign and SignEasy on Google Play for Android, too. These apps want you to pay on an ongoing basis for the privilege of signing documents. Just use Adobe’s app instead.

Chromebook

Chromebooks rely on web-based software, so you’ll need to use one of the fancier web-based services for this. HelloSign works well, so we recommended it even to Windows users who didn’t feel like using Adobe Reader. It also provides integration with Google Docs and Gmail.

The only downside is the price. The free version of HelloSign is limited to three signatures per month. If you only need to sign the occasional document a few times a month at most, HelloSign will be completely free, so it’s a good option.

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