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How to convert a scanned signature to vector in illustrator

Updated April 17, 2017

For painters, signing artwork is as easy as grabbing a pen. But for digital and graphic artists, figuring out how to incorporate a signature into a vector illustration can be tricky. Fortunately, with the help of a photo scanner, it is easy to create a vector version of your handwritten signature in only a few minutes.

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  1. Sign your signature using a thick pen on a piece of white paper. A thick signature will be easier to trace into a vector than one done with a very fine-tipped pen.

  2. Scan the piece of paper with the signature into your computer and save it as a JPG file. Crop the scanned image so that only the signature and white background remain.

  3. Open a new artboard on Adobe Illustrator. Under the "File" menu, choose "Place" and then select your scanned signature.

  4. Navigate to the "Object" menu, then choose "Live Trace" and "Make." This will Live Trace the signature and should create a semirealistic vector replica of the signature. Depending on your computer's scanner quality and other factors, Live Tracing may not work well.

  5. Press "Undo" if Live Trace does not work well. Then go to the "Pen" tool and carefully trace the signature with the stroke set to .25. Once you have traced the whole signature, change the stroke to match the weight on the original signature.

  6. Save the vector version of your signature in your files so that you can easily insert it into Illustrator files in the future.

  7. Tip

    If Live Trace does not work, you can also try signing your signature with a different coloured pen and scanning the signature again.

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Things You'll Need

  • Scanner

About the Author

Daisy Buchanan has worked as a staff writer for "The Umbrella," an arts newspaper in Portland, Ore., and as editor-in-chief for "Living Mosaic," an academic journal. Buchanan holds a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Lewis and Clark College.

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