Use Acrobat Reader To Sign A PDF On Windows

Use Acrobat Reader To Sign A PDF On Windows

Brooks SignatureI have written about ways to electronically put your signature on a PDF quite a few times (for example, using PDFPen or in Preview), but they have all been on the Mac. Today it is Windows’ turn.[1]

The latest version of Adobe Reader X has added the ability to drop your signature into a PDF. Previously, you needed the rather-expensive Acrobat X for this. Here is how it works:

Go Into Signature Mode

When you have your PDF loaded, the first thing you want to do is click the Sign button in the upper-right corner of Acrobat Reader.

Acrobat Click Sign
Acrobat Click Sign

If you don’t have a Sign button, you are probably using an older version of Reader. Head on over to Adobe’s site and grab Acrobat Reader X.

When you click the Sign button, you will now have three (ok, four, but we will deal with the fourth later) options:

  1. Add Text
  2. Place Signature
  3. Finalize Changes

Add Your Signature

In our case, we want to add our signature, so we will hit Place Signature.

Acrobat Place Signature
Acrobat Place Signature

Once you do this, a pop-up window comes up with instructions. Like most of these types of applications, you will need to write your signature on a piece of paper and then scan it in or take a picture of it with a camera or mobile device.

In this example, I used TurboScan on my iPhone to take a picture and then transferred it to my Windows machine.

Once you have your signature file on your computer, select it and hit Accept

Choose Signature
Choose Signature

Place, Resize, and Finalize

Once your have added your signature, you move the image to where you want it, and then drag the sides to size it.

Resize Signature
Resize Signature

When everything looks just right, click on Finalize on the right-side of the Window, and it will check with you to make sure that you want to embed your signature in the PDF. Once you click Finalize Changes, it will save a new signed PDF that you can send out.

Finalize Changes
Finalize Changes

Send For Signature?

You may have noticed earlier that aside from the three options under Sign Now, there was a fourth option with a Send For Signature button.

All this functionality came about because Adobe acquired EchoSign, an electronic signature company.

If you want to have a more sophisticated signing workflow where the PDF is securely sent to the recipient and the signatures are tracked, you can click that button and try it out. That’s a topic for another blog post though.

All in all, Acrobat Reader X’s signature functionality works well, and it is nice to have this in a free tool that you probably already have.

Do you have another way that you “sign” documents on Windows? Let us know in the comments how it is working for you.


  1. Since I am hopping on a plane for Macworld|iWorld tomorrow, I figure I should balance it out.  ↩

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 12 comments

Rusty Andre - August 21, 2015 Reply

Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a Sign PDF form?

konstantinos - June 11, 2015 Reply

Fake! The sign tool does not exists acrobat 11 version win7 OS..!

Jay - April 30, 2015 Reply

This is not working. The Sign option is locked.

Colin - May 28, 2014 Reply

Just use Paint. Save it. Then insert it into whatever document you need to put it into in Word.

    just me - June 8, 2017 Reply

    Oh dear Lord thank you for a simple quick solution~!

scolburn - November 27, 2013 Reply

Thanks, Brooks, that works well for me on my new Windows 8 machine. Very cool feature with no added cost.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - November 27, 2013 Reply

    Yeah, that doesn't happen very often, does it? 🙂

Ignacio - November 20, 2013 Reply

thank you very much. very instructive

dmendez - September 4, 2013 Reply

what about for touch screen tablets…it wont work I can only press a dot but no multi touch when holding

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - September 4, 2013 Reply

    That I'm not sure about. What tablet are you using?

sojourner - September 20, 2012 Reply

This is not working. While the instructions at Adobe’s site says that cropping is unneeded because “Reader imports just the signature,” that’s a complete lie.

It’s a shame for the Windows users in the office, but I’m using Preview on a Mac and that signs my docs just fine.

    Brooks Duncan
    Brooks Duncan - September 20, 2012 Reply

    It works for me? What is not working? Is there something else on the image you are using besides your signature?

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