How to add a digital signature in PDF (and what to do instead)

Written by Vanja Maganjic

With the shift to remote work, the need for tools that help out people who work from home has risen like never before. Video conferencing tools, other types of communication tools, file-sharing software, and of course, digital signature tools. 

In this article, we’ll explain the importance of digital signatures, how to add one to your PDF and why you should look for a better and easier option. If you want to give your documents a fighting chance, you’d want to use something that gives you more insight and benefits than a stagnant PDF document. 

Don’t worry, our guide is very easy to follow and doesn’t require any technical knowledge beyond the level of using Facebook. Let’s jump right in. 

What is a digital signature?

If you always thought that a digital signature is an unreliable way of signing your contracts and legal documents, you’ve made a common mistake. There is a difference between an electronic signature and a digital one. 

An electronic signature is any type of signature you can add to your documents. Just because you easily add them, doesn’t make them secure, legally binding, or relevant in any way. 

It’s the equivalent of ending a Word document with a typed signature. Anyone can do it and there is no way of validating the said signature. 

On the other hand, a digital signature is a secure and encrypted way of agreeing to a specified legal document. In order to be able to send your documents to clients, employees and partners who live in a different part of the world and procure their signatures, you need to find a way to do that in a legally binding way. 

That’s why the digital signature was created. It’s a unique copy that is linked to the person that signed the document. Every digital signature includes the person’s IP address, making it impossible to forge. 

Let’s go over other characteristics of a digital signature. 

The importance of a digital signature

There are three major aspects of a digital signature, as well as a few we think are important to highlight. 

The first one is – being globally accepted and legally compliant. Digital signatures use PKI – a public key infrastructure standard that ensures all vendor-generated keys are securely stored. 

Secondly, digital signatures come with timestamps. They show when the document was signed, which is especially important in any type of business situation. 

Thirdly, digital signatures make it easy to trace the signer. This happens because digital signatures create an audit trail that makes them secure and easy for record-keeping.

There are also other kinds of benefits of digital signatures. They have a better environmental impact than paper documents and save a lot of energy that gets used in order to produce and transport paper. 

Digital documents also save time. Since they diminish the need for printing out paper documents, signing them, and then scanning them or sending them through snail mail, you can easily save valuable time and storage place. 

Since your clients can sign the document in seconds, you can start working on the project sooner and deliver the results without a time lag. This is a huge win-win for both you and the client. 

Why do you need a digital signature?

Although we’re big proponents of remote work, we understand why some people may have hesitations about it. If you’re offering a service you can provide to people in other parts of the world, it doesn’t make sense to limit yourself to your geographic location. 

In order to have more confidence in your partnerships and relationships with your customers and clients, you want to take any necessary precautions you can. The best way to do this is by utilizing a worldwide accepted way of signing deals. 

If the worst-case scenario ever comes to fruition, you will have a leg to stand on. In litigation, you can show the terms your client agreed to and the tracing of their signature. On the other hand, if you only use an electronic signature, you can’t actually prove that the client is the one who signed the contract. 

While we would never wish for anyone to be in this situation, it’s good to be prepared. Digital signatures also build your credibility. They show your clients that you mean business and are serious about your company and the people you work with. 

It gives them peace of mind, knowing that if you don’t stick to your part of the agreement, they can hold you responsible. 

The more professional you are, especially in the early parts of the working relationship, the more authority you will show and in turn gain more respect from the client. 

Digital signatures also help you stand out from the competition. No matter what industry you’re in, you need to be able to create air-tight agreements. 

How to add a digital signature in PDF?

Once you receive a PDF document that requires your signature, you have two options. 

If you’re just adding an electronic signature, all you have to do is open the document in Adobe Reader and right-click on the place where you want to add your signature. 

From there, you get two options – one to add an initial and one to add a digital signature. Once you choose the signature, it will open up a new window, in which you’ll be able to type in your name. 

When you do that, your typed-in name will appear as cursive in the document. You have the option to choose from a few different fonts and once you do, you’re done. 

Adding a digital signature is a bit harder. Start by acquiring a digital certificate. If you don’t have one, you won’t be able to add a digital signature to your document. The best way to secure one is from an official provider. 

From there, open Adobe Acrobat. It’s a popular app for adding digital signatures to PDFs.

After that: 

  • Click on Tools and find Forms and Certificates and click open
  • Select Digitally Sign and the signature you want to use
  • If this is the first time you’re signing a document, click on Configure New Digital ID and follow the instructions
  • Shape the signature and click on Sign

What to use instead?

If you’re looking for a better solution to securely sign your documents, keep track of them and utilize analytics, you’ll love Better Proposals. 

Our platform allows you to create beautifully designed contracts and other documents in no time. Since all of the documents are web-based, they can be signed with a legally binding digital signature. This means that all your documents will be sent as a secure link that leads to a landing page. 

All of our document templates come with a digital signature field, meaning you won’t have to jump through hoops to create a singing field. 

We’ve made it so easy for anyone to sign a document, no matter their technical knowledge or access to tools. All your clients need is access to email and a keyboard. We won’t make them sign up for our service in order to sign or ask for their information. 

They will receive the document with a very clear CTA, which shows where they need to type in their name. 

Once they type it, it turns into a digital signature that is secure and can be traced to the signer. 

Whether you’re on the sending or receiving end of a Better Proposals document, your experience will be amazing. We worked hard to make sure everything is easy to do and doesn’t require you to read lengthy instructions. 

Not only is Better Proposals amazing for your digital signature needs, but also for so much more. Let’s take a look at other possibilities of the Better Proposals platform. 

What else can Better Proposals help you out with?

Better Proposals is a great tool for creating, approving, and sending beautifully designed documents like business proposals, contracts, statements of work and more. With our platform, you can say goodbye to Word proposals and create any of your documents from scratch. 

We offer more than 200 document templates that cover a lot of industries and needs. From design and marketing to finance and home improvement, we cover it all. Once you choose your template, you’ll see how easy our editor is to use. 

All of our templates come with an appealing cover page that engages the reader and invites them to keep reading. After that, we get to the introduction page, commonly called the executive summary. 

You really don’t need any design experience to use our editor. If you want to change or customize any of the prewritten content, all you have to do is click on the plus sign and choose whether you want to add text, image, video, or something from your content library. 

Wondering what a content library is? Well, it’s a great feature that allows you to save your content for future use. It’s a great time-saver in cases when you need to copy-paste large chunks of text – like your terms and conditions and such. 

Our proposal templates follow the structure most clients expect nowadays. They don’t have a lot of time to read 30-page Word documents and want you to get straight to the point. If at any point in creating your proposal, you have any questions or want to know any tips on creating a high-converting document, you can rely on our proposal university

It will give you amazing insight into how to structure, write and design your content in a way that’s easy to understand. We have a lot of experience with creating business proposals, sending them, and conducting the follow-up process and we love to share that experience and insight with you. 

What happens after you send a document through Better Proposals?

You already know about the digital signature option, but that’s not all Better Proposals’ customers love about the service. We also offer a payment integration that allows your clients to pay your first fee through the proposal itself. 

The payment integration can be set up through PayPal, Stripe, and GoCardless, which cover 99% of your client’s needs.

Furthermore, once you send your proposal, you get access to proposal analytics. They show you who opened your proposal, did they forward it, sign it, pay and even how much time they spent on each of the proposal sections. 

This information is extremely important when it comes to the follow-up process. If you see that the clients opened the proposal and went straight to the price and then closed it, you know that they’re looking for a cheaper alternative and that you shouldn’t spend too much time trying to save that deal. 

On the other hand, if they spent a lot of time on the timescales and your process, you know you should reach out and offer some type of clarification for them. You could send more material on your solution or even a case study on how you helped a previous client reach their goals and experience amazing benefits. 

With all of these features and benefits in mind, it’s easy to see why Better Proposals are a better choice for your contracts and other documents than relying on PDFs and Adobe. 


The less stress you have about your business dealings, the better it is for you and everyone included. That’s what we had in mind when creating Better Proposals. We’re big proponents of business automation and think that everyone should be able to automate repetitive tasks. 

Not only does it save time, but also provides you with better insight and data that can help you shape future business decisions. You get to focus on the things that matter and you’re good at, while the software ensures that your documents are up to industry standards and abide by the needed legalities. 

Our guide on using Better Proposals to create, send, sign and track your documents showed you the benefits of automation you probably didn’t even think about. Now that you understand the importance of it, make sure to sign up for a free trial and experience benefits for yourself. 

About Vanja Maganjic

Vanja Maganjić is an experienced writer with a unique passion for creating content that helps brands connect with their customers. She believes in brands that stand up to the man and thinks that storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. Her long term goal is to become the cool auntie that gives out family-sized Kit Kats on Halloween.
Categories: Sales Tips