How to sign PDF forms using the free Acrobat Reader DC


This article explains how to download and use Acrobat Reader DC to add your signature to PDF forms.


Electronic PDF forms can be a simple way to fill out paperwork, and often require the user to provide a signature before submitting. Depending on how the form is set up, that signature can be as simple as typing out your name, while more formal paperwork may expect you to provide a "real" signature before completing the form.

This article will explain exactly how to do that, including how to get the program needed if the form expects a formal signature.

How to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

  1. Follow this link to the Acrobat Reader DC download page on your Windows or MacOS computer.
  2. Uncheck any optional offers, if shown on the landing page.
This image shows the MS Word app as it appears on the store
  1. Click Download Acrobat Reader, which will give you the installer for the program. Be sure not to choose the Acrobat Pro DC Trial.
An image shows the download button for Acrobat Reader DC


Using the Acrobat Reader DC app to sign forms

  1. Open the Acrobat Reader DC app on your computer, and choose File > Open, and select the PDF form.
    Note: If you received the form by email or downloaded it from a website, you may want to re-save/copy it somewhere easy to find (i.e., your Desktop or Downloads folder).
  1. Fill out all the normal fields needed on the form, which should be highlighted in light-blue, until you're ready to add your signature.
  1. Choose the Sign tool at the top of the page (shown in the image below), and choose either Add Signature or Add Initials. Either is acceptable, and the difference is just that "Signature" will have you draw your signature, while "Initials" will let you type out your initials on the keyboard.
An image here shows the location of the signature tool in the Acrobat Reader interface
An image here shows the two options for the Sign tool
  1. After drawing/typing your signature (it gives a check-box option if you want to save it for future signatures), you can reposition and re-size it within the form. When you're happy with its placement, click the Close button for the Sign tool, which will be located in the upper-right corner of the screen. To be clear, this "Close" button refers to closing the Sign tool, not your document or the app.
An image here shows Close button for the Sign tool
  1. After all the necessary fields and signature lines have been filled in, you can simply go to File > Save (or Save As), and choose a location on your computer that will be easy to find. It's recommended you choose a file name that makes clear the form has been filled out, possibly with your surname in the title. This file can then be emailed or uploaded to the appropriate office/website.

What to do if a form *requires* a "Digital ID"

Some forms require a more formal signature, referred to as a Digital ID. This will basically just involve a one-time setup to complete the form, and that Digital ID file can be saved to your local computer, and used for later signatures.
  1. When you click into the signature line on a form, it may bring up a window that looks like the image below. This will indicate that the form wants you to sign using a Digital ID. These special signature fields are normally highlighted in light-blue like other fields, but with an orange/red ribbon icon in the upper-left. Choose the Configure Digital ID option.
An image here shows the Digital ID configuration prompt
  1. On the next screen, choose the Create a new Digital ID option, and then choose Continue.
An image here shows the option for choosing to create a new Digital ID

  1. On this next screen, you'll want to select Save to File, and then choose Continue.
An image here shows the option to save your Digital ID to a file on your computer
  1. The next screens will ask you to enter personal information to associate with the signature (only the Name and Email Address fields are required), set a password for when you use the signature, and then a file location where you'll save the Digital ID for future use. All other settings can be left at their default. After this process, you'll be able to then sign the document using that file, and confirm it with the password you set in the creation process.



Article ID: 119027
Fri 10/23/20 10:20 AM
Mon 10/26/20 10:28 AM