How to Electronically Sign a PDF

Signing a PDF document online used to be a hectic back-and-forth exchange; you had to print, sign, scan, and email the copy back to the sender.

But nowadays, you can sign your document within minutes. With modern technology, you can quickly sign PDF files and send them instantly.

So let’s explore electronic signatures and how to sign a PDF electronically.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, or e-signature, is a feature that lets you digitally sign PDF files and other documents online. In most cases, an e-signature is the digital version of your regular signature.

Though commonly confused, electronic signatures differ from digital signatures, but they both authenticate digital information and are often necessary for business transactions.

Unlike the conventional pen and paper method, electronically signing documents is convenient. Besides, countries like Canada and the US recognize electronic signatures as legally binding.

Today, many people electronically sign PDF files using tools like e-signature pads, apps, and electronic systems. And with proper guidance, you can also learn how to sign on PDF with the help of these technologies.

Ways to generate an e-signature

There are several ways to sign PDF documents. For instance, you can use your computer’s cursor, a stylus, or even your finger to draw your signature quickly.

You can also take a snapshot of the signature, convert it to an acceptable file format, and fix it on the part of the document when you need to sign PDF online.

That said, the following section will detail five ways to create an electronic signature using accessible software and systems.

1.    Attaching a hand-drawn signature

This method of signing PDFs is popular because it results from first-line thinking.

To make it work, follow these steps:

  1. Sign your signature on a piece of paper.
  2. Photograph the paper with your camera.
  3. Crop the image using a photo editor to get a neat copy.
  4. Ensure that the snapshot can fit in the space provided for signatures on the form.
  5. Attach the picture to the document.

Unfortunately, this method is time-wasting and challenging. And if you don’t crop the photo correctly or place it on the document properly, the embedded e-signature looks out of place.

2.    Using a qualified e-signature

E-signature is a secure method that verifies your identity and the validity of your signed document. It also gives you total control over the keys used to create your e-signature.

That said, an e-signature cannot be “qualified” if it isn’t unique and traceable to the signatory. Also, the qualified signature includes measures that identify when someone tampers with the data after the signatory signs it.

As complex as this kind of e-signature seems, it is the most secure form of electronic signing. You can quickly identify any changes in the PDF document after adding the signature because any changes made after signing render the document invalid.

But you will need qualified e-signature vendors to issue and teach you how to sign a PDF document with this kind of electronic signature.

3.    Using software to generate e-signatures

Instead of manually drawing your signature on paper and developing the impromptu photoshop skills required to neatly attach it to a document, you can let computer programs do the work. Tools like Lumin PDF teach you how to sign a PDF file in easy steps.

With Lumin PDF, you can sign PDF document in no time. And Lumin PDF takes things up a notch by providing a step-by-step guide on how to digitally sign a PDF file.

So when using the app, you should do the following:

  • Navigate to the toolbar and click on the “Signature” icon.
  • Create your signature using the brush tool.
  • Use the graphics editor to sign your signature.
  • Resize and properly align the signature in your PDF document.

It is easier to draw signatures if you have touchpad gadgets instead of dragging your cursor all over the screen.

Besides, if you want to change the brush’s settings, click on the “Choose Style” icon to alter the brush thickness, color, etc. And the best part is that you can still modify the signature even after creating it.

4.    Convert scanned signatures

Some online PDF software gives you the option to add signatures from external devices. These tools not only teach you how to sign a PDF electronically, but they also let you reuse existing signatures.

To upload signatures on Lumin PDF, follow these steps:

  • Access the Lumin PDF toolbar and click on the “Signature” icon.
  • Select your desired file from your device as long as it doesn’t exceed 2.5 MB.
  • Upload image.

This approach is excellent for businesses with multiple signatories. So, if an unavailable colleague needs to sign a letter, they can send you a scanned copy of their signature.

Afterward, you can import the scanned image, and the tool will convert it to a valid electronic signature.

5.    Import saved signatures

Many PDF editors allow you to store and reuse signatures after signing them. This feature is helpful if you have to sign documents regularly using the same tool. Since the electronic signature already exists on your system or account, all you have to do is import it.

While using many PDF editors, you can import saved signatures by clicking the signature icon, selecting the “Choose Signature” option, and picking the signature from your archive.

Whether you decide to draw your signature, upload an image, import it or convert a scanned copy, you need PDF editors to get the job done. They give direct instructions on how to sign PDF. And with a few swipes and clicks, you can be more efficient at documentation.

Why should you use an electronic signature?

Having learned how to sign a PDF electronically, you should know why you need to.

  1. Using electronic signatures saves time, especially if you have to sign many documents.
  2. E-signing promotes ‘green’ practices since you don’t waste paper.
  3. E-signatures add an extra layer of security to your documents, discouraging anyone from tampering with them after you’ve signed them.

With the various advantages of using electronic signatures, more companies and individuals need to adopt the process.


This article explains the different ways to sign a PDF form electronically. These methods are effective, simple, and accessible.

Irrespective of the tool you use to add a signature to your PDF file, the benefits of using electronic methods outweigh those of conventional signatures. So take advantage of PDF tools and teach your employees how to electronically sign a PDF.

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