How To Create a Digital Signature in PDF

Digital signatures are becoming increasingly common in the business world and, in many cases, are required. Creating a digital signature for PDF documents is an easy way to safeguard and authenticate your documents. A digital signature used instead of handwritten text indicates that you have personally authorized the material. It only takes a few minutes to create a PDF digital signature, which can be saved and reused whenever a document needs to be signed.

You can create a digital version of your signature.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Step 1

Write your signature using a black pen on a neutral background. The best background would be a piece of clear plastic like a transparency sheet. If clear plastic is unavailable, choose a piece of plain, unlined white paper. Any background color behind the signature will be seen and may interfere with the appearance of the PDF document.

Step 2

Scan the image at 300 DPI using the black-and-white text setting. Save the image as a bitmap using a GIF, JPEG or TIFF extension.

Step 3

Convert the image to a vector file using a photo-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Open the image file in the program, click "File," choose "Save As" and save it as a vector file. Once the image has been converted to a vector file, it can be reopened and edited.

Step 4

Trace over the signature using the drawing tool in the software you used for the conversion to darken lines and repair any flaws in the signature's appearance.

Step 5

Save the signature as a PDF file when you have finished editing the signature. Click "File," choose "Save As" and pick "PDF." Click "OK" to close the signature file.

Tip

A bitmap is an image file that stores the image information as pixels. A vector is a file that saves the image information as a mathematical equation. PDF documents are vector files, so creating the digital signature as a vector allows you to easily merge the signature into PDF documents.