Using Acrobat Reader to digitally sign a PDF

This article is for users of Acrobat Reader, the free PDF reader available from

This is not Acrobat Pro. Please note that because of the free nature of Reader, functionality is limited:

  • You cannot send the document for a signature through Acrobat Reader
  • You cannot edit, create, or otherwise change a PDF in anyway


  1. Open the PDF file in Acrobat Reader
  2. Click on the Pen icon in the toolbar at the top
  3. Click Add Signature


  1. There are three options for a signature: Type  , Draw , and Image
    • TYPE uses a specific font to type out your signature. It is not your actual signature but a representation of it. Click on Change Style to change the font
    • DRAW allows you to use your mouse or mouse pad to “write” out the signature. Note that the left Mouse Button must be pressed in order to use the mouse or mouse pad
    • IMAGE allows you to write out your signature and scan it into an image that is saved on your computer. Remember what you name the file and where you save it


  1. Regardless of the choice, once made, click Apply.
    • Save signature is selected by default.
    • Saving the signature will allow you to use it when you select Add Signature
  2. The signature file will be “locked” onto your mouse cursor. Move the mouse to the appropriate field or location on the document and press the left mouse button to drop the signature
  3. Click the Next button in the upper right-hand corner of the file
  4. You will get a message stating that the file must be saved before continuing. Click Save
  5. The next screen is the Save As screen. Pick a location to save your file, and then either give it a new name (if you wish to preserve the original document) or keep the file name as-is and click Save
  6. The “How do you want to send your file?” screen will appear once the file is saved. This is where the limitations of Acrobat Reader come in. There are three choices from this menu, but only one is available in Acrobat Reader.

The three choices are:

  • Get a Link: uploads the file to the cloud and creates a link to send. This is the only option available to Acrobat Reader
    • Click Create Link, then click on Attach link to Email
      1. You may get this error: You need to configure your default email client first…..
      2. Click the ‘x’ to close this box
      3. Click Edit>Preferences>Email Accounts.
      4. Highlight Default email application and click Make Default, then click OK to close this box
    • Click Next in the upper-right
    • Select Get a Link
    • Click Create Link, then click on Attach link to Email
    • Add the recipient to the To field and send the email
    • When the recipient receives the email, they can click on the link and view the documents. They can download the file to sign.
  • Send a Copy: This feature is not accessible through Adobe Reader
  • Request Signature: This feature is not available through Acrobat Reader


Article ID: 2257
Wed 4/15/20 12:55 PM
Wed 4/15/20 1:39 PM