How To: Use your Mac to sign a document

This one is worth sharing just in case you’ve never heard of it, or forgot it existed: iSight signatures. The feature was added quite a while ago, but I recently remembered how awesome it was when I signed a document without printing it out.

Signing Documents

It’s always been possible on OS X to scan your signature in to Preview and use that to sign documents. However, for most people, I think the process would have been too much to actually go through.

OS X Lion added an amazing feature that helps those that need to sign digital documents. You can use the built in iSight camera to capture the signature for signing documents.

How to:

It’s very simple: there is a button at the top of your Preview app that you’ll click and select ‘Create Signature from Built-in iSight Camera’. Then you’ll take a snapshot of a black ink signature on a white piece of paper. It can be lined if that’s all you have.

Powerful PDF

The feature is to give a graphical signature to documents that you need to send. It lacks the digital signature that you would get from Adobe Acrobat or from NitroPDF or DocQ. In this case it’s just a picture added over the rest of the PDF. It’s still nifty and does even more.

Preview can store multiple signatures, so if you need to both sign and initial documents, you’re able to do so easily using Preview’s annotation functions.

It’s likely that the only reason I ever printed was so I could sign and scan and send back. This saves me a couple steps, and is easy enough that anyone can do it.

Joshua Howland

Joshua is a mobile application developer, entrepreneur, and technology enthusiast. He is currently building a company that focuses on educational mobile applications: LearnStack. His favorite posts to write compare companies and products. He loves sports and start ups and talks about them (along with tech) on Twitter (@jkhowland) and his blog (

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