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Tech tip: How to digitally sign a document on a PC, Mac, Android or iPhone

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One thing that face gotten easier is signing documents. Now you can skip the drive or wait for something to arrive in the mail and sign digitally instead. Here’s how.

First, consider your signature

Even in the digital age, a handwritten signature provides a personal touch. Do not use your mouse or trackpad. It never looks right.

Instead, sign a piece of paper and save it on your device using your smartphone’s camera or your webcam. You can then import that image into any PDF or other document. Tap or click here for in-depth steps, including the size and ratio to aim for.

Here’s a pro tip: Having two different signatures is a good idea. One is reserved for signing in person and the other for signing electronically.

The two signatures can be pretty much the same. Just modify one with an extra dot or some other subtle variation. This way, if someone ever uses your signature without your permission or knowledge, it’ll be easy to figure out just by looking at it.

One more thing to keep in mind: If you’re signing legal documents, they typically require a secured digital signature using a service such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign.

If you’re using Adobe

Adobe Reader is one of the most common PDF applications out there. There are also Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Acrobat Sign that work similarly.

To sign a document, open the PDF and look for the Sign icon in the top toolbar. It looks like the nib of a pen. It should be in the toolbar at the top of the application. You can also go to Tools > Fill & Sign.

Fields you can fill out should turn blue in the document. Find the space you want to write your signature, click it, then click on the Sign icon again. You’ll have the choice to sketch your signature with your mouse or trackpad, type your initials or upload a photo of the signature you want.

To save your signature, check the ” Save signature box and click Apply to sign the document.

Courtesy Adobe Inc.

Signing is easy on a Mac

It’s easy to create a virtual signature you can use on a Mac using the Preview app – no extra downloads required.

  • In Previewhit Tools.
  • Choose Annotate.
  • Select Signature > Select Manage signatures.

From there, you have two options. You can sign using your trackpad (more power to you if you can make it look good) or sign your name on a white piece of paper and hold it up to your webcam.

Apple's iPhone 5Cs phones are displayed on racks bearing the logo of China Mobile, at a mobile phone shop in Beijing December 23, 2013.

Apple’s iPhone 5Cs phones are displayed on racks bearing the logo of China Mobile, at a mobile phone shop in Beijing December 23, 2013.
(REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Try this on an iPhone or iPad

Markup is a powerful tool you might not even realize is there. It lets you edit screenshots and photos, add signatures to documents, insert text, and more without downloading a third-party app.

To sign a document:

  • Open the document and tap Editthen the Markup button.
  • Tap the Add button to add Text or a Signature.
  • Tap Done twice.

Notes is another basic, pre-installed app worth using. Tap or click here for five useful things you did not know Apple Notes could do.

Apple iPad - photo file.

Apple iPad – photo file.
(Reuters)

On an Android, try Adobe Fill & Sign

Just like with the desktop version of Adobe Acrobat, the free Android equivalent can also be used to sign documents. You’ll be given the option to doodle your signature on your screen, which is easier to get right than on a computer.

This app is also a great way to fill out forms and you can use it to type on PDFs for a clean, professional-looking document. Adobe Acrobat is available as a free download from the Google Play Store. Tap or click here to download it.

In this photo illustration an Android logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

In this photo illustration an Android logo seen displayed on a smartphone.
(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Commando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters, and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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