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How to sign a document on your iPad

There are various ways to sign a document on an iPad. Many people opt to use the iOS Mail app because it comes pre-installed, although functionality is a little limited.

Third-party email apps like Gmail also allow users to sign documents. Alternatively, you can use a document editing app like Adobe Acrobat or PandaDoc.

These apps, particularly advanced platforms like PandaDoc, offer advanced document editing tools in addition to signing features. 

Here is an overview of the main methods: 

  • Use the Mail app: If you receive a document by email, you can use the document preview window to approve, save and resend it. Some files may need downloading depending on their format. 
  • Use a popular email app like Gmail: If you use Gmail, you can use native features to sign the document. 
  • Sign with Adobe Acrobat: If a PDF is already saved to your iPad, you can use Adobe Acrobat to sign it. Adobe Acrobat is the preferred tool of many iPad users because it provides additional functionality in addition to signing. Alternatively, you can generate a preview of the PDF without using Adobe Acrobat and use the built-in iPad pen feature.
  • Use a third-party tool like PandaDoc: Many iPad users opt for a third-party app like PandaDoc. Document management apps include a suite of features for editing, signing, sending, and tracking documents. 

Let’s outline each of these methods step by step. 

Sign using the Mail app for iPad

If you want to sign a document that you have received via email, the quickest option is to use the Mail app. 

1. Open the Mail app on your iPad and locate the email with the attachment you wish to sign. You may need to download the file first if it is not a PDF. 

2. Open a preview of the document and select the Markup icon in the top right of the screen. 

Sign using the Mail app for iPad
Sign using the Mail app for iPad
Sign using the Mail app for iPad

3. Use the editing options to draw a signature onto the document. If you would like to create a signature for future use, or use a pre-written one, select the plus icon from the Markup menu. 

Sign using the Mail app for iPad

4. Tap Done when you have finished. You can now return the message to the original sender.

Sign using the Mail app for iPad

If you have saved a PDF to your iPad, the signing method using the preview feature is largely the same. Locate the document in the files dialogue and follow the instructions from step two. To send the document by email after signing, select the Share icon and pick your preferred email app. 

Sign using the Gmail app

Like Mail, Gmail provides users with in-app features for previewing and signing documents.

1. Open the Gmail app and create a preview of the attachment you wish to sign. 

2. Tap the Share icon in the top right of the screen. Select Markup from the menu. 

Sign using the Gmail app
Sign using the Gmail app

3. You have two options. Use the pen feature to add a one-time signature to the document or select the plus icon on the markup menu and choose Signature — from here, you can create a new signature that will be saved to your phone or choose from existing signatures. 

Sign using the Gmail app
Sign using the Gmail app

4. Select Done and save the document to your iPad.

Sign using the Gmail app
Sign using the Gmail app

Once you have finished signing, you can return the document to the original sender (or another recipient) by adding it as an attachment to a new email. 

Sign using the Adobe Acrobat app for iPad

If you have saved a PDF file to your iPhone, Adobe Acrobat is one of the best apps for approving it. In addition to signing features, Adobe Acrobat also allows you to edit the document directly and add annotations. 

If you use other Adobe apps for managing your documents, Acrobat enables you to sync your workflow. 

1. Open the document you wish to sign in the Adobe Acrobat app. 

Sign using the Adobe Acrobat app for iPad

2. Select either Fill & Sign (toolbar on the right) or Sign (toolbar at the top).

Sign using the Adobe Acrobat app for iPad

3. Add your signature to the box that appears and tap Apply. You can add a pre-written signature if you have already saved one to your iPad. 

Sign using the Adobe Acrobat app for iPad
Sign using the Adobe Acrobat app for iPad

4. Click Next and follow the on-screen prompts to save or send the approved document.

Sign using the Adobe Acrobat app for iPad

The Adobe Acrobat app is free to download. However, if you require more advanced document editing tools, you will need to take out a paid subscription. 

Sign using PandaDoc

PandaDoc is one of the web’s leading document management tools. iPad users who opt for PandaDoc have access to a range of tools not available in other apps. These include document editing and tracking. Even better, PandaDoc doesn’t impose any caps on the number of documents that can be sent for signature (even on the free plan). 

1. Open and log into the PandaDoc app. You can sign up for a free trial if you are not already a user. The iPad app is available on the “forever free” plan. 

2. Select Add in the bottom right of the screen. Tap Files and upload your document. 

3. Tap Signature, position the field,and select the pencil icon. Follow the options to create and affix a signature to your document. 

4. Select Finish to complete the process. You can save the document to your iPad or send it to a recipient. 

If you are not ready to send the document straight away, you can access it within the PandaDoc app at a later stage. 

Use PandaDoc to create, sign and track documents

Apps like Gmail, Mail, and Adobe Acrobat offer basic features for quickly signing documents. However, if you are looking for a more comprehensive signing toolkit, a solution like PandaDoc is the way to go. 

PandaDoc offers an array of plans for individuals and businesses.

Our iPad app is also available on the long-term free plan, which includes unlimited documents and e-signatures. You’ll never be forced to upgrade to a paid plan to continue using the app. 

Open a free account or start a trial today. All subscriptions include unlimited uploads, signatures, and use of document payment features.