The SMB’s compass to digitalization  

3 min

Updated on Sept 4, 2023

Published on Jul 6, 2022

Signing a PDF without printing it? It’s possible with eSignature!

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Thomas Choukroun

Thomas Choukroun

Content Manager @Yousign

Illustration: Mélusine Vilars


2.5 billion. That’s how many PDFs are circulating in the world. So, it’s impossible to overlook how important this format is for receiving and drafting employment contracts, leases, quotes, direct debit authorisations, and other critical documents. While the PDF format has many advantages, the fact remains that the first impulse when someone receives contractual documents is to print the PDF to sign it, scan it, and return it to its sender. Beyond the obvious environmental cost of this routine, there’s also an efficiency issue. In a world where every second counts, wasting even just a few minutes signing contractual documents is a drag on productivity. The possibility of signing a PDF directly without all these extra steps is therefore crucial, but only if everything can be done in an environment with very high security requirements. You’ll quickly discover that there’s only one solution that meets all conditions: eSignature.

How do I sign a PDF without printing it?

If you’ve asked yourself this question before, you’ve already realised that you’re tired of the usual “receive, print, sign, scan, return” routine. That’s why there are other more practical, environmentally friendly, and, above all, more secure options for signing a PDF document.

Can I sign a PDF?

Yes, it is possible. MacOS users are familiar with this particularly effective technique: simply use the computer trackpad to insert a “handwritten” signature. The signature is considered a document in image format that must be resized to make it readable.

What are the drawbacks of this kind of signature?

The first drawback is that it is difficult at best and impossible at worst to create an exact reproduction of your own signature, especially on a limited trackpad and without tools capable of replicating the precision of a pen.

From a purely security perspective, this type of signature doesn’t provide the best guarantees: It’s difficult to ensure the authenticity of the signer. A third party who had access to the PDF could simply sign it without its recipient being aware. In addition, ensuring the authenticity of the signature is complicated. Even if the signer could be confirmed, the signature could be forged or incorrectly reproduced. More importantly, this type of signature has absolutely no legal value.

What’s the solution for signing PDFs?

The only alternative for signing PDFs is eSignature. It differs from the old way of signing in many ways, and it’s the only option for signing a PDF.

Why should I use eSignature to sign my PDFs?

eSignature provides a wide range of significant advantages for signing your PDF documents securely. It is:

  • Secure: trusted providers such as Yousign guarantee the authenticity of the signature and the signer by sending an OTP (one-time password) by text to the previously specified number to confirm the signer’s identity and decision to sign the document. An electronic certificate guaranteeing the integrity of the document is then appended to the document. That’s just one reason why an eSignature, even on a PDF, has a guaranteed legal value and is recognised by the European authorities. As a trusted third party, Yousign is regularly audited by outside audit firms appointed by the European Commission. In France, the national information systems security agency (ANSSI) is responsible for approving qualified service providers by analysing audit reports.
  • Easy to use: Sign your contracts online remotely from your mobile phone or computer wherever you are.  
  • Fast: Save considerable time by using an eSignature solution. Printing, signing, scanning, and returning a document takes a lot of time. With eSignature, you can sign your contracts in just minutes and get back to your essential tasks.
  • Economical: Postage stamps, reams of paper, ink cartridges, printers, envelopes… All this has a price. Adopting eSignature can streamline your spending and lead to significant savings from the first use.
  • Environmentally friendly: Yousign’s digital signature offers true digitisation of your contractual documents. Printing them becomes unnecessary.

How do I sign a PDF with Yousign?

It couldn’t be easier! Here’s the procedure if you are a signer:

  1. Click on the “Access documents” box in the email from Yousign
  2. Read your document to the last line
  3. Click “Final step”
  4. Enter the OTP that you received by text and confirm
  5. Congratulations! You’ve just signed your PDF with Yousign!

If you want to request a signature:

  1. Enter the contact details of the signer(s)
  2. Load the document into the application
  3. Send the document
  4. Track the signing progress in real time with automatic reminders to signers
  5. Congratulations! You’ve just created your first signable document with Yousign!

What’s the best alternative to signing PDFs?

As you can see, the only alternative that offers security and simplicity and saves time and money is eSignature.

The usual method of printing, signing, scanning, and returning a PDF document is a thing of the past. eSignature offers a much more substantial alternative that not only gives you peace of mind with its greater reliability, but also the speed of execution and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing something important for the environment.

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