How to add signatures to PDFs

The first thing you need to know about how to add a digital signature to PDF documents is that you’ll need a digital certificate, either from a registered provider or through a self-sign service. You cannot electronically sign a PDF file without a certificate.

You’ll also need access to an app to add digital signatures to your PDF documents. Simple tools like Windows Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader, or a dedicated app such as PandaDoc, can achieve this.

However, you might want to opt for a more feature-rich solution that also offers advanced document management capabilities.

It’s usually possible to configure these software apps, for example by setting a visual signature to display at the bottom of a document whenever you sign (along with your digital signature), so you should familiarize yourself with all the options and set your preferences.

This article covers the following: 

  • How to digitally sign PDF documents with Adobe Acrobat
  • How to electronically sign PDF files with PandaDoc
  • Why PandaDoc is the top solution for adding a digital signature to a PDF document

How to digitally sign a PDF document with Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is one of the most popular apps used for adding an electronic signature to a PDF document.

Follow the steps below to digitally sign a PDF:

  1. Open your document in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click the Tools tab and scroll down to the Forms and Certificates section. Select Open from the Certificates dropdown menu.
  3. Click on Digitally Sign from the new options bar.
  4. Select the digital signature you want to use and click Continue. If you need to add a digital signature certificate to Adobe Acrobat, select ConfigureNew Digital ID and follow the on-screen prompts.
  5. Configure the appearance of the signature and select Sign to successfully complete the digital signature on your PDF.

How to add a digital signature to a PDF document with PandaDoc

If you’re using PandaDoc, it’s even simpler to add digital signatures to PDF documents:

  1. Log in to your PandaDoc account. Upload a new PDF by selecting New Document > Upload. You can also select an existing file from the Documents tab on the right of the screen.
  2. Open the Content > Fieldstab. Drag the Signature field to the relevant place in the PDF.
  3. Double-click on your new field and follow the on-screen prompts to sign the PDF with your digital signature.

Why not digitally sign PDFs with PandaDoc’s dedicated solution?

Adding digital signatures to PDFs is quicker and easier with a dedicated app.

A solution like PandaDoc allows you to upload, store, and track your documents, including digitally signed PDFs, from one secure dashboard.

It only takes a few clicks to sign a PDF digitally, and all recipient signatures and signed documents are stored safely on our secure servers.
You can take advantage of a free trial on any of our premium packages.

Frequently asked questions

What is a digital signature?

A digital signature, or an electronic or e-signature, is a digital representation of a handwritten signature. Adding a digital signature to a PDF document authorizes and legitimizes the data, as well as creating an audit trail for electronic documents.

Can you remove a digital signature from a PDF document?

Sometimes a digital signature needs to be removed from a PDF due to errors or changes to contracts. As PDFs are made to be hard to modify for security reasons, this can be more difficult than adding a signature.

While there are options for removing a digital signature added to a PDF in error, the easiest method is prevention. As a dedicated solution, PandaDoc helps you manage, organize, and secure your signed documents to stop mistakes before they occur.

How to add a digital signature to a Word document?

As an extremely popular software application, it is no surprise that many users want to add a digital signature to their Word documents. Microsoft has now added features that make this possible, including inserting a Microsoft Office Signature Line.

You can also use PandaDoc’s dedicated solution to make adding a digital signature to a Word document even quicker and easier.