GlobalSign Blog

How to Make a PDF Signature

How to Make a PDF Signature

What is PDF Signing?

Many people nowadays take advantage of the convenience of digitally signing documents. Digital signing enables faster transactions—something that would otherwise take days to accomplish using traditional paper-based systems.

PDF signing is the process of signing a PDF document digitally or electronically. PDF documents contain all kinds of information, such as contracts, policies, and agreements. As such, digital and electronic signatures are used to verify the legitimacy and authorship of these contents.

What is an E-signature?

An electronic signature, or simply e-signature, refers to any form of a signature that is signed electronically, or through a computer, tablet, device, or any digital technology. It is the digital equivalent of a handwritten signature often seen in PDF documents. They can be in the form of an image, sound, or symbol.


Electronic signatures are legally binding when the two parties agree to enter into the contract.

E-signature in PDF

Electronic signatures are mainly used to verify a PDF document. They are a convenient way to sign documents because they can be done remotely. Since electronic signatures are for proving the signing party’s intent to sign the document or contract, it can be as simple as a tick of a box, scanned signature, or any electronically signed authorization.

Are PDF Signatures Legal?

E-signatures are legally acceptable. However, there must be evidence of the signer’s intent to execute or accept the agreement being signed.

According to the E-sign Act, digital signatures are admissible evidence in a court of law and should not be denied legal validity solely because they are electronic.

The E-signature Act also states that electronic signatures are legally binding provided that they adhere to the following requirements:

  • Intent to sign & opt-out clause.
  • Consent to do business electronically.
  • Clear signature attribution.
  • Association of signature with the record.
  • Record retention.

That is to say, to protect the integrity of the signature, electronic signatures require the digital identities to be created, conducted, and saved in a secure manner, and often require the services of a reliable Certificate Authority (CA).

How to Sign a PDF Document

Now that we have covered the definition and legal implications of e- and digital signatures, let us explain how to sign a PDF document using a PDF signing platform.

Depending on your chosen platform, the steps may change but generally follow the same formula.

To start signing, you will need the following:

  • A Digital Certificate – A digital certificate can be acquired through Certificate Authorities (CAs) like GlobalSign. Digital Signing Service (DSS) is a cloud-based solution to digitally sign PDF documents. Since it is cloud-based, you can sign the document at your convenience.
  • A PDF Signing Platform – GMO Sign is a popular document signing platform where you can do both signing, requesting, and tracking of documents.

How to Create Electronic Signatures in PDF

Now the next step is applying electronic signatures in PDF documents:

  1. Open your preferred PDF signing platform. For this example, we will use Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  2. Upload the PDF documenting into the signing platform.
  3. Look for the e-signing button. In Adobe’s case, it can be found in the icons tab below:
  4. On the “Fill & Sign” tab, choose between the signing options for your signature.
  5. Type, Draw, or Upload your preferred signature in the fill-up box.
  6. Stamp your signature within the PDF document.
  7. Save your file and you’re done!

If you’re looking for a more convenient way to request a signature, keep on reading below to find out how GMO Sign can help!

Digital Signatures with PDF

How to Sign PDFs Digitally

Signing PDFs digitally is a straightforward process which is why a lot of organizations are starting to make the shift. In the sections below, we will show you how to apply digital signatures on your PDF document.

What is a Digital Signature?

A digital signature is a form of an electronic signature that is notarized by a Certificate Authority (CA). Digital signatures certify that no one else could have signed the document but the author themselves.

Aside from digitally signing PDF documents, a digital signature is good for record-keeping. For example, through GlobalSign Digital Signing Service’s timestamping feature, the document will indicate the time and date the document was signed such that any alterations cannot be made.


Add Digital and Electronic Signatures to PDF with GMO Sign

Organizations are often looking for ways to easily sign documents. The good news is that GMO Sign is an all-in-one signing platform that allows you to sign, send, manage, and track documents for all your electronic and digital signing needs. Since most organizations require the safest and most reliable way to sign documents, we will use GMO Sign as an example.

With GMO Sign, you can sign your PDF documents with ease! Here are the steps:

For In-house Employees:

  1. Log into your GMO Sign account. You may also open the document through the GMO Sign Signature Request Email.
  2. On the dashboard, look for the Pen icon.
  3. Click on “Start Signing” button and click on the “Sign” icon.
  4. Type, Draw, or Upload your preferred signature in the fill up box. Click “Continue.”
  5. Click Submit and you’re done!
    Video demo of digitally signing certificates for in-house/internal employees.

For External Signers:

  1. Open the document through the GMO Sign Signature Request Email. For non-GMO Sign users that need to electronically sign, there’s no need to sign up!
    Video demo of signing into the GMO Sign account via email URL.
  2. Open the PDF document.
  3. Under the “Signer Select” field, choose “Sign Yourself” or “Ask someone else”, whichever applies.
    Note: The Signer Select field has two options: Sign Yourself is to apply your own digital signature. “Ask someone else” is to request for someone else’s signature.
    Video demo of sending a digital signature request to someone else.
  4. Sign or fill in any additional details and you’re done!

Difference Between E-Signatures and Digital Signature

In the context of PDF signing, e-signatures refer to all types of digital signing, but the two must not be confused with each other.

In a nutshell, e-signatures are mainly used to electronically sign PDF documents. Meanwhile, digital signatures are applied to secure the PDF documents through a digital certificate acquired from Certificate Authorities (CAs). The digital certificates contain the signee’s unique digital identity. They are used to validate the document and ensure authenticity and verify the identity of the user who signed the PDF document.

Moreover, it should be noted that electronic signatures are often less authentic as they cannot be verified without a digital signature. For this reason, a digital certificate is often preferred since it has the feature to be verified with greater levels of authenticity. This is the case because digital signatures are authorized and are regulated by Certificate Authorities. Comparing the two, digital signatures have more security features.

Share this Post

Related Blogs