Creating a signature for PDFs

Hello, Am looking or advice. How simple is it to create a signature to use for pdf forms? Is Adobe the only method to use?

In the Preview app, check out Tools > Signature


Tidbits had a good article 5 years ago.


You can sign a piece of paper, scan it, and then paste the image onto a form.

Adobe’s mechanism of simply using typed text with a handwriting font is really a cop-out. But if you want to do that, open up the Font Book app - you can quickly scroll through all the fonts on your system (including previews of ones not installed, which you can download from Apple with one click) to find ones you might like.

Here are some that I think might work. Most of these come with macOS. The ones I tagged Adobe do not - I think I got them as a part of purchasing Photoshop Elements (probably years ago, since the files are dated 2011).

  • Apple Chancery
  • Bickham Script Pro (Adobe)
  • Bradley Hand
  • Brush Script MT
  • Caflisch Script Pro (Adobe)
  • Marker Felt
  • Noteworthy
  • Quotes Script
  • Sauber Script
  • SignPainter
  • Zapfino

(FWIW, when you sign from within Adobe Reader, the signature is rendered with one of four “Adobe Hand” fonts.)


I use Preview all the time and never realized. Thanks so much.

I did this years ago – my handwriting was better then – and I still use these scanned signatures.

When you scan, are you able to use that signature to “sign” documents that are PDF’s and usually legal forms?

I sold some property in 2020 and the PDF forms were emailed to me. I used the scanned signature and sent back. These were legal documents and were accepted – but that may not be the case with all agencies.

Hi David: I was looking at your instructions, on signing your name and scanning it. Question: what “form” are you alluding to? Not as clear as my brain thought. Thank you,

I signed my name on a piece of paper then placed it on a flatbed scanner. I scanned and saved the result as a TIFF file. I cropped the scan so that it only contained the signature.

When “signing” a document I use Adobe Reader and then copy/place the signature file on the signature line.

Hope I explained it better this time.

It was mentioned earlier, but this is a lot easier in Preview. The signature graphic is stored in Keychain, and can be inserted into a document at the click of a button or a menu command. And if you use iCloud Keychain, it will be available on your other devices. I can sign documents on my iPad using the signature I created on my Mac.

It’s now Tools > Annotate > Signature. May have moved in Monterey?