22 responses

  1. daye
    December 4, 2014

    Thanks for the tip. How do you blur part of the PDFs/photos using Preview ?

    • Paul
      December 4, 2014

      Preview does not include blur tools at the moment, but you could draw a color filled box over a particular area to block out a part of an image. Otherwise, a free app like Skitch includes a simple blur/pixelate tool that can be drawn over part of a photo, and of course more advanced apps like Pixelmator and Photoshop offer complex blurring tools as well.

  2. daye
    December 4, 2014

    Thans Paul for the reply. I just installed Skitch yesterday since I could not find that on Preview.

  3. frankie bear
    December 4, 2014

    what? sign your life away. mark of the beast. the end is nigh bro.

  4. Phillip
    December 4, 2014

    Very cool tip(s) – thanks! But speaking of tips, the one on top of my biro isn’t recognised by the trackpad, nor the rubber on the top of my mechanical pencil. Is there anything other than my finger tip that the trackpad on my MacBook Air will respond to? I’m not so flash at signing with my finger!

    • Larry
      December 4, 2014

      Pretty much any tablet stylus will do the job.

  5. Fnordmeister
    December 5, 2014

    Thanks for the tip, Pan Gantz!

    (Or whatever your name is …)

  6. Toby
    December 5, 2014

    We used this tip two years ago when we closed on our house, but did a remote closing from another state. All 90 pages of closing documents were e-mailed to us and we were told we needed to sign or initial each page. No way was I going to print, sign, and scan each page. It was off to Google where I found OS X Daily. Signed each page electronically and e-mailed back within a few minutes. Awesome!

  7. Obake
    December 7, 2014

    Does anyone know how to copy the signature to another Yosemite Mac? I’ve got a rMBP and want to copy the signature to a MacPro (without trackpad).

    I tried the old trick with keychain but no luck.

    I’m also pretty sure I had a signature on the MacPro but post update it got deleted.

  8. Nexus
    December 15, 2014

    Just checked this on my other MacPro running Yosemite ( this MacPro is STILL running Mountain Lion ), wish it was cleaver enough to realize I’m using a Wacom… these are the sort of little things that has me bad mouthing Apple as of late…

  9. Brian
    December 21, 2015

    One little problem with this: the drawing starts as soon as you’ve clicked inside the box (as per part 4 of the instructions), so what happens if you don’t want to start your signature inside the box? It would have made much more sense if some key press started the drawing, so you could get the pointer in the right place to start off.

  10. Brian
    December 21, 2015

    Further to the above, with a bit of experimenting I’ve figured out the correct way to draw the signatures. The trick is to picture the trackpad as a piece of paper on which you are drawing your signature, and then place your finger in the appropriate place before you start to draw. You will not get any feedback from the screen till you begin drawing. It might be good to include this advice in the instructions, and maybe to make a video also.

    And, contrary to a suggestion made elsewhere, you _can_ raise your finger and move it to another place to continue, just as you would raise your pen when writing on paper — the line does not have to be continuous.

  11. George Wilson
    January 29, 2016

    Nope- the toolbox / briefcase looking icon is greyed out.

  12. Htoomyat
    March 23, 2016

    Can Macbook Air (2015) do this?

    • Tony
      March 23, 2016

      Yes, all Macs can do this to sign documents with the trackpad, with a modern version of OS X the feature is available.

  13. Ron
    August 18, 2016

    OK, I opened preview, and I can see the briefcase icon, but when I click on it, nothing happens. What am I missing?

    • Paul
      August 18, 2016

      Clicking the briefcase / toolbox icon in Preview will reveal the toolbar. You can also go to the “View” menu and choose “Show Markup Bar” to reveal the same toolbar with the document signing options.

      • Ron
        August 18, 2016

        I have OSx El Capitan 10.11.6 and I cannot use the briefcase icon, but can capture a signature using the Tools menu item, Annotate. But in capturing the signature, I end up with a “Manage Signature” box, with the signature in it, but cannot then transfer it to the document.

      • Paul
        August 18, 2016

        Try opening a different new document, unrelated to the original PDF, and see if you can access the toolbar in that. The toolbar will pop up directly underneath the toolbox icon in the same general area at the top of the document screen. The toolbar and the editing features within it are a major feature of Preview so it is available in all versions.

        I wonder if you have some preference issue, a reboot may help as well for some quirky behavior.

      • Ron
        August 18, 2016

        So, I tried a PDF file, and it worked perfectly. Does that mean that a WORD document just can’t be signed?

      • Paul
        August 18, 2016

        Preview on the Mac will only sign image or PDF documents that can be opened in Preview app. You could sign the Word document but first you would need to convert the Word document to PDF, then import that PDF into Preview to sign it.

        The Microsoft Word and Office apps in Mac OS X lets you save as PDF, or another option would be to use the “Print to PDF” option to resave the file as a PDF, then sign that file. http://www.astutemediavision.com/?url=2010/05/21/how-to-print-to-pdf-in-mac-os/

        If the file needs to be a DOC file rather than a PDF, you would have to sign it, then convert it again from PDF to DOC, which can be done for free with Google Docs: http://www.astutemediavision.com/?url=2012/07/12/convert-pdf-to-doc-free-with-google-docs/

        Kind of complicated in that situation, but in short; yes you can sign any PDF file with Preview, you just must convert the document to PDF first.

  14. Ron
    August 18, 2016

    Thanks very much for clarifying

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