Instead Of Scanning, Sign Documents With Your Smartphone

Instead Of Scanning, Sign Documents With Your Smartphone

iOS/Android: While the day of full digitisation seems to draw ever closer, sometimes there are still papers that need that pesky real signature. And though document scanning apps mean you don’t have to own a scanner or make a late-night run to Officeworks, the options out there are far from perfect, and it’s high time you started utilising your tiny pocket computer instead.


The Wall Street Journal (article paywalled) recommends Adobe Fill & Sign (iOS, Android) for most forms, as it allows you to sign on your screen, then store the signature image and drop it in place and resize as needed on future documents. It even has a feature for filling in the individual-letter rectangles that you can never get to align properly.

Want to encrypt that form? You’ll need a different app to add password protection. WSJ likes Genius Scan+ (iOS, Android) and explains the full process. Encryption is only available in the paid version of the app ($12.99 on iOS or $7.49 on Android). Export your PDF from Fill & Sign via the Share icon and send it to Genius Scan+. Then, open the PDF in Genius Scan+, hit the Share icon, and select the “Password” field. Enter your desired password there, but remember you won’t be asked to verify, so keep an eye on your typos.

You can email or export the now-protected file anywhere that the app supports; currently that list includes AirPrint, Dropbox, Evernote, Expensify and Google Drive. You can also choose to encrypt all of your PDFs at once or set a passcode for access to the app.

If you’re submitting the paperwork to someone else, you will have to give them the password, so make sure it’s unique and something you’d be willing to say to your potential employer’s face.


  • Wouldn’t you get a more natural looking signature by actually signing a piece of paper, then scanning that and saving it in whatever format is best for your phone to store?

  • It’s stories like this that make me realise how hard some people have it. Seriously, stop trying to do useful things on your phone. Read Facebook or call your Mum.

    For getting things done, try a computer. Years ago, Preview on my Mac offered to take a photo of my signature. I scribbled it on a bit of paper (with an actual pen!) and held it up to the camera. It snapped a shot and converted it to a nicely weighted line drawing. Now any PDF I open I can annotate with my signature. Resize, reposition, zoom in, out, nudge pixel by pixel, undo, redo, blah blah, all without having to squint and pinch and tap and tap drag and then drag tap and then tap tap, and tap, tap, tap.

    Then do whatever you want with it – email, save, print, remove pages, change to black and white, drag to Slack, drag to Trash. Whatever. No plugins, no apps, no subscriptions or paid features. Just normal computing.

    Why everyone has to make everything so hard, call it an app, re-invent 30 wheels and claim it’s a revolution is beyond me.

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