Preview in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion includes an awesome feature to digitally sign documents without having to print them first. In this quick tutorial, I’ll show you how to capture and digitize your signature so you can insert in into any documents you’ve been emailed that you might need to sign.
Quick Tip: Digitally Insert Signatures into Documents Using Preview
Step 1. Open a Document
First, open a document that you need to sign in Preview. Although it’s likely to be a PDF, you can add a signature to any type of file that Preview can open.
Open a document to sign in Preview.
Step 2. Create a Signature
Once you’ve opened the document you need to sign, click Preview > Preferences using the menu bar, and select Signatures.
Signatures are managed directly in Preview.
Click the + or Create Signature button and the Signature Capture window will appear.
Preview digitizes a signature using your FaceTime camera. By writing your signature on a piece of plain white paper and holding it up to the camera, Preview can create a vector-based version of it.
Preview captures a signature using the Mac’s FaceTime camera.
Step 3. Apply Your Signature
Now your signature is digitized, it’s time to add it to the document.
From the menu bar, select Tools > Annotate > Signature. The annotation bar in Preview will appear, which will provide an option to insert your signature.
Once you select the Signature annotation, simply click and drag wherever you need to insert it. The signature can be scaled and resized before positioning. And because it’s vector based, it can be resized as small or as large as you need it and the quality will still be the same.
Inserting a signature is just a case of click and dragging.
Preview’s signature capability is something that wasn’t really trumpeted when OS X Lion came out. It’s one of those features that serves just one purposes, but it does it so well that it’s genuinely a pleasure to use.
Digitizing your signature saves both time and paper! If you already scanned in your signature using a traditional scanner and have it saved as an image, I highly recommend switching to Preview. In addition to it being better quality, it’s fully transparent so if you need to sign a document that isn’t on white paper, it’ll still work fine.