If you don’t own a scanner, signing and scanning a document becomes… somewhat problematic.

In the past, you had 2 options:

  • Go to Office Depot.
  • Make a short-term friendship with someone who owns a scanner.

Apple Signature Tool - Ned

Exhausting… but there is an easier way.

Since OS X 10.7 Lion you could add signatures in Preview. With OS X 10.10 Yosemite you can embed signatures in documents sent via Apple Mail.

What kind of documents? Anything that’s a PDF or an image; i.e., any document.

Signatures In Preview

Preview is Apple’s version of Adobe Reader. It’s a fast, easy-to-use, way to view and edit PDFs and images.

You can read more about it here – How To… Save A Document On Your Mac As A PDF File

To get started:

  • Get a sheet of white paper. Sign it. If you make a mistake, use a clean sheet of paper and sign again.
  • Open a PDF or image in Preview.
  • Go to View in the Menu Bar and choose Show Markup Toolbar or click the Markup icon on the App Toolbar.

Apple OSX Preview - Annotation-Toolbar

  • The Annotation Toolbar appears at the top of the PDF or image.
  • Click the signature icon.

Apple Preview-Markup-Toolbar - Signature Tool

  • If you don’t see the signature icon, go to Tools in the Menu Bar, choose Annotate, select Signature and then Manage Signatures.
  • Go to the section below Capturing Your Signature.

Signatures In Apple Mail

Remember, you need to be running OS X 10.10 Yosemite to use this feature:

  • Get a sheet of white paper. Sign it. If you make a mistake, use a clean sheet of paper and sign again.
  • Open Apple Mail. Create a new email. Add a PDF or image attachment in the body of the letter.
  • Hover the cursor over the top right-hand corner of the embedded PDF or image.
  • A drop-down arrow appears.
  • Click the arrow and select Markup…
  • The PDF or image opens in a pop-up window with a Markup toolbar.
  • Click the signature icon.
  • Go to the section below Capturing Your Signature.

Capturing Your Signature

  • There are 2 tabs; Trackpad and Camera.
  • Choose Camera. The camera on your Mac is located at the top of the screen.
  • Notice the blue line across the bottom of the camera image.
  • Hold your signed piece of paper up to the camera and try to align it with the blue line.
  • Don’t worry about any background discoloration. This has no impact on the result.
  • Once your signature touches the blue line, hold it steady… and the camera takes a snapshot.

Apple Preview Signature - Camera Signature Capture

  • If you make a mistake, just click Clear and try again.
  • When you are happy with the result, click Done.
  • Now, you get to try it out.

Adding Your Signature To A Document

  • Click the signature icon in the Annotation Toolbar.
  • A drop-down menu shows any signatures you have saved.

Apple Preview Saved Signatures

  • Click your signature and it’s appears in your document.
  • You can resize the signature by moving any of the four blue points.
  • So… now you have a clean signature that can be adapted to work on a document of any size.

Using Apple Saved Signatures in Preview and Apple Mail - Scaling SmallAs long as the document is open in Preview or Apple Mail you can manipulate and delete the signature.

Once you close and save the document, the signature is embedded and can’t be removed.

Signature Security

Once you create a signature and close that document, your signature is saved. It’s now available in Preview and Apple Mail.

You can add more signatures if you wish. You can also delete a signature, by clicking the X next to it in the signature drop-down menu on the Annotation Toolbar.

If you rarely need to sign electronic documents, it’s probably a good idea to delete your signature immediately after use.

If you intend to keep your signature handy, at the very least change your Security & Privacy settings in System Preferences to require a password immediately after your Mac goes to sleep or starts a screensaver.

That’s it.

If you’d like to read a post about Preview’s annotation tools, click How To… Markup A PDF Using Preview

To read more about Apple Mail’s new annotation tools, click Markup… Apple Mail Annotation With Yosemite

Have a fine weekend.

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