iOS Tip 113 - Sign Documents Quickly

Sign Documents on iPhone & iPad from eMail Quickly

Have a contract, agreement, or service form emailed to your iPhone or iPad that you need to sign quickly? Perfect, because now you can digitally sign and return a document directly from the Mail app of iOS. The Mail signature feature lets you quickly sign a document attached to an email and send it back on it’s way without ever having to leave the mail app, the entire signing and returning process is very fast and easy thanks to the Markup feature set.

The Markup (see iOS Tip 112) feature requires iOS 9.0 or a later version installed on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The rest is easy and handled in the email client. If you want to try it out email yourself a PDF file, an image, or some document that could be signed – we’re just testing so it doesn’t actually need to be an official contract or anything, the Markup feature works with nearly all mail attachments. And yes, this works not only with attachments sent to you, but also to attachments you want to send out.

1. Open the email containing the document to sign, tap on the document attachment as usual to preview it within the Mail app then tap the toolbox icon, lower right corner
2. Tap on the Signature button in the lower right corner of the Markup preview

3. Use a finger on the touch screen to sign the document as usual, then tap on “Done”

4. Place the digital signature into the appropriate location on the document to sign, you can resize the signature if necessary by using the blue buttons to grow or shrink the signature, then tap on “Done” when finished to insert the signed document back into the same email as a reply

5. Write the email reply as appropriate and tap the “Send” button to send the freshly signed document back on it’s way to the original sender

Is that easy or what? No need to print anything, no need to scan anything, and there’s no need to use the signature feature on the Mac either, the entire process can be handled in iOS. The document can be signed and returned in just a few seconds.

You can also attach a document to a fresh email, sign that, and send it on it’s way too, so you don’t have to just sign and return documents attached to existing emails. This means that if you have a PDF document attachment you saved to iCloud you could attach and sign that using the same markup feature as well.

Of course if you don’t have the latest versions of iOS, you can rely on the Mac to use a very similar feature and digitally sign documents using the Mac Trackpad in OS X. The Mac approach is just as effective, and much earlier versions of the Mac Preview app even support scanning a signature with the Mac camera, meaning no matter what era of Apple hardware you’re using, you should find a solution for signing documents electronically and then returning them quickly, without ever having to use a printer, fax machine, or scanner.