Resources » Working With PDFs (Basics) » How Do You Sign a Document Online?

In this post, we help answer questions about the best way to sign documents online: How do I sign a form online, what’s a good online signature tool, how to get a document signed electronically, and more. With so many people working from home and doing business from afar, the demand for an online signature maker is higher than ever.  

What’s the Best Way to Sign Things Online?

Online document signing is becoming more and more common in the digital age. Often, when signing an official agreement, you’ll be sent a PDF and asked to “e-sign” it rather than print it out and physically sign it. Or, maybe you can sign something physically, but you can’t send it because you lack a printer and scanner. 

Whatever the reason may be, signing a document online is a lot easier, thanks to technology. You can create document signatures online using various services that then place that signature wherever it’s needed on your document. 

So, let’s answer the question of “How do I sign a document online?”

Create Signature Online

There are a few ways to sign documents online. Some will be free, while others require a payment or subscription. Some methods may create “legally valid” signatures, while others will serve for any document that requires proof that you read and acknowledged it. 

Sign Document Using a PDF Editor

We’ll start with the easiest and lowest-barrier way to sign a doc online.

Use a PDF document editor to create a signature and then place it wherever it’s needed on your PDF. To demonstrate this, we’ll use our PDF.Live editor’s sign PDF feature

By uploading your PDF to the editor, you can create a signature using either an image or drawing your signature. For an image, you’ll need to scan or take a picture of a physical signature or cut it from an existing document. (For this reason, it’s sometimes easier to just draw your signature, which is easy to do with PDF.Live’s PDF sign tool.) 

To recap:

  1. Create an account with PDF.Live. It’s free to try, and we require only an email address. 
  2. Select Sign PDF from the top menu.
  3. If needed, convert your Microsoft Word doc to a PDF first. 
  4. Click and drag or upload your PDF to the signature tool. 
  5. Follow the prompts to draw your signature or upload an image. 

Signing Papers Online With an E-sign Service

For a secure and simple way to add a signature and manage files, look for encrypted document signing software, such as Adobe Sign. 

This is ideal for anyone who deals in a high level of documents to be signed, but they don’t require a lot of complicated other features like check boxes and fill forms (there are better platforms for this). With Adobe Sign, you can request signatures and sign forms or documents online. Adobe’s site says its signatures are legally enforceable, but you should check with your legal advisor or legal department before sending contracts or legal documents.  

For the recipient, it’s as simple as typing their name in the field marked Insert signature (always read the terms-and-conditions so you understand the legality of the e-sign service). *

Encrypted Digital Signature Service

For official documents that require a signature that’s verified to be attached to your identity, consider a digital signature service that specializes in creating verified signatures for documents. 

As an example, check out DocuSign, which provides electronic signature and notary services online. DocuSign is free to try and verifies the identity of a signature through taking a photo of an ID card. 

Services like DocuSign are intended for customers that need to repeatedly create signatures online or sign multiple online documents. If you only need to sign a couple of documents that don’t require verified proof of your identity, you may end up paying an excessive amount of money for an official electronic signature that you don’t need.   

Best App to Sign Documents Online

Signing a document from your phone rather than a laptop or desktop? There are apps available that allow you to create e-signatures using just your phone. 


We mentioned DocuSign before, but they also have an app on the Apple and Play stores. With this app, you can create a signature using your phone and sign any document that’s needed. You can then upload that document to a cloud storage service or email it as needed. These signatures are legally binding and provide a trail to when and where you signed a document. 

Keep in mind that DocuSign has separate free and premium services. The premium services for signing documents online are available through specific subscription plans. 


Another app on both the Play and Apple stores, Signeasy allows you to sign PDFs, Word docs, Excel Sheets, and more on any device. Signatures can either be imported from a picture, drawn by you, or scanned using your phone’s camera. You can then email it out or create a sharable link or QR code for your document. 

Signeasy has a monthly subscription for signing unlimited documents. The app also allows you to create documents for signing by someone else.

*The information in this article and throughout PDF.Live’s website is for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional legal advice. The signature feature from PDF.Live does not meet the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (ESIGN) or of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA).