How to Add a Signature to a PDF

Updated April 17, 2017

From a legal perspective, your signature validates a document, binding you to the document's contents. The same laws that apply to conventional signatures apply to digital signatures. With the widespread use of e-mail and electronic files, chances are you will need to add your digital signature to a document, such as a PDF, at some point. You can add your signature in PDF files electronically without having to physically sign the document.

Open the Adobe Reader program on your computer. Go to "Files" and click on "Open Documents."

Browse for the file that requires your signature. Open the document.

Click on "Tools" located in the upper-left portion of Adobe Reader. Choose "Forms" on the list of tools. Another list will appear. On the new list, choose the "Digital Signature Tool." Once you click on it, you will see that your mouse pointer has turned into a cross sign.

Point the cross sign of your mouse pointer to the area on the document where you want your signature to be. Left-click and drag the mouse to create a rectangle where your signature will appear. Once you release the mouse button, the General Properties tab of the Digital Signature Tool will appear. The default name of the signature field that you created is "Signature 1." You can change this by searching for "Rename" and typing in the new name that you want. You can also click on "Locked," which is located on the lower-right portion of the rectangle for the signature. If you activate this, the signature tool will automatically lock itself after you have signed so that it cannot be changed.

Click "OK" once you have made all of the changes that you desire.

Hover your cursor over the "Signature Tool" and click on it. You will see a new prompt appear. The prompt will show you the step-by-step instructions on how to add your signature. Follow the instructions and wait for your signature to be validated. You will see a green check sign on the upper left side of the prompt once your signature is validated.

Save the file. It will automatically be converted to a PDF file.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Reader version 8 software or higher
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About the Author

Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., Bill Dale has been writing travel- and lifestyle-related articles since 1988. His articles have appeared in “The Northern California Bohemian” newspaper and “Wine Business Monthly” magazine. Dale received the Fairbanks Public Service Award in 2005. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Columbia University.