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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 21st November 2011     

Add your signature to PDF documents using Preview

Preview is a multi-function tool in OS X and one of the things it is useful for is viewing Adobe Acrobat documents - PDF files in other words. Manuals, help files, booklets and even whole ebooks are distributed in PDF format and simply double clicking one on the disk opens it for viewing in Preview. You can even create PDF files yourself and there is an option when printing documents to save them as a PDF file instead of sending them to the printer.

PDF files you create yourself and PDF documents from elsewhere can not only be viewed in Preview, but also edited too. You can modify a document and after making changes you might want to sign it. The cool thing is that you can actually sign a PDF file with your own real signature. You just use Preview and the camera built into the Mac.

Start Preview by clicking it in the Dock and then click Preferences on the Preview menu. Click the Signatures icon in the toolbar and then click Create Signature. A Signature Capture window opens and the camera turns on. Sign your name in black ink on white paper and then hold it up to the camera so it appears in the preview window. Align the signature on the blue line and it will automatically lock on to the camera image and display a preview on the right. Click the Accept button when it is the right size and position - you might need to move the paper around to get this right.

You can create more signatures by clicking the plus button in the bottom left corner and holding another one up to the camera. There are several reasons why you might have more than one, for example, you might want one with just the inital of your first name and one with your full name, or one with your title or professional qualifications and a plain one.

To use your signature you need to load a PDF document - you're sure to have one on the disk drive somewhere. When it has loaded, click View, Show Annotations Toolbar if it is not already showing. Click the Signature button in the toolbar then click the signature you want to use. Click and drag in the document window to insert the signature and set its size.

Now you can give your PDF documents a professional look with a proper signature at the bottom. Just save the PDF file containing your signature.