How to Sign a PDF

September 14, 2023 624 views

Have you wondered how to sign a pdf online free without printing and scanning the document? The Smallpdf platform provides users with a feature - Smallpdf eSign, which allows them to sign PDF without going through the hassles associated with the task.

It may be challenging to sign a pdf document with Smallpdf sign. This article will guide you on how to esign with Smallpdf. Keep reading to find out more.  

What is Smallpdf eSign?

Smallpdf eSign is an online platform where users can sign their PDF documents electronically. This platform helps eliminate users' need to manually print documents before signing them. With Smallpdf sign, you can upload a PDF and add a signature.

However, it doesn’t end there. After signing a PDF, you can securely share the document via email or a shareable link. Users do not have to worry about compromising the document's integrity as the Smallpdf esign ensures that electronic signatures comply with stipulated electronic signing regulations, making it legally binding.  

The Importance of Document Signing

Document signing occupies a vital position in most professional and personal transactions. Many documents require involved parties to sign them before they can be considered valid. These documents include agreements, financial records, legal contracts, and consent or authorization forms.

The signing process is often a proof of consent or agreement and validates the document's authenticity. Electronic signing of documents has made it convenient to sign and share documents without the parties involved being in the same location. It also offers heightened security for documents.

The Challenges of Traditional Signing Methods

Several challenges are associated with the traditional signing methods. This method involves the printing, signing, scanning, and sending back of the documents. Here are some of the challenges you may encounter while using the traditional signing methods:

  • Lack of security: One of the major challenges with traditional signing methods is the security of the documents. The PDF can be damaged, lost, or even compromised in the process of printing and scanning. It is also easier to forge handwritten signatures, unlike one digital signature.

  • Accessibility: Traditional methods of signing make it challenging for parties to easily access the document from wherever they are. For such a signing method, there has to be an exchange of physical documents. This makes it inconvenient, especially if the parties are in different locations.

  • Time-consuming: The traditional signing method involves several steps that can be time-consuming and delay the overall document signing process.

  • Redundancy and inefficiency: Using the traditional signing method will involve printing, signing, scanning, and sending back the documents. All of these processes can create redundancy and lead to inefficiency. Furthermore, the traditional signing method also requires a physical storage space for the printed copies of the documents.

  • Document alteration: The method can be prone to errors and tampering as signatures can be forged.

Overview of Smallpdf Sign

Smallpdf sign is one of the features provided by Smallpdf, an online PDF software that makes all PDF-related tasks simple for users. Smallpdf sign is an efficient and user-friendly way to sign PDF documents electronically. The process is straightforward, eliminating security issues and ensuring the documents are easily accessible.

With Smalldf, users can easily upload PDF files, annotate the document, and add and customize their signatures. You can also securely share all signed documents without compromising on integrity.

A document signed with Smallpdf Sign

Features and Benefits of Smallpdf Sign

Users of Smallpdf sign online get to enjoy several features and benefits, including:

  • A user-friendly interface: The software has an intuitive and pretty simple interface. This allows users to easily navigate through and effortlessly sign their documents, notwithstanding their technical abilities.

  • Security: Documents signed with Smallpdf sign are secure. The Smallpdf software has an SSL encryption that helps to ensure documents stay secure.

  • Legally binding: Documents signed with Smallpdf are legally binding as the software strictly complies with international regulations for electronic signatures.

  • Easy accessibility: Users can access Smallpdf Sign from any device with an internet connection. You can also integrate cloud storage platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox. This makes it easy to import and export documents.

  • Options for customization: The Smallpdf sign allows users to customize the signature's appearance. There are signature templates that users can choose from if they decide not to draw their signature. Aside from signatures, users can also add dates, initials, and other texts to the documents.

  • Eco-friendly: Because documents are signed electronically, it eliminates the need to print and scan documents. This results in lower waste generation and paper usage, which aligns with the green initiative.

Step-by-step Guide How to eSign PDF with Smallpdf

Here are the steps to sign PDF with Smallpdf for free.

Step 1: On the Smallpdf website, select “eSign PDF.”

Smallpdf homepage

Step 2: Click “Choose a file” or “Drop PDF here” to select a file you want to upload from your device. Double-click on the document to upload.

Smallpdf eSign document upload page

Alternatively, upload a document from your device or a cloud storage platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive by clicking the drop-down arrow and selecting the file location.

Step 3: Once a document has been uploaded, you will see options to add your signature, initials, text field, date field, or checkbox.

Smallpdf eSign page to add signature, initials, or text

Step 4: Click the “your signature” option. You will see options to draw your signature, upload an image, or type your initials. Select the one applicable and click on ”create.” You can use a touchpad or mouse to draw your signature.

eSign PDF page to create signature

Step 5: Navigate to the document area where the signature will appear. Click on the area, and a box prompt will appear.  Select the signature option, and the platform will paste the signature.

Step 6: Click on the signature to adjust the size, change the color, or duplicate.

eSign signature adjustment prompt

eSign signature adjustment prompt

Step 7: Add other elements like dates, checkboxes, and text fields if needed. Review the document to ensure the signature is correctly placed.

Step 8: Click the "Finish & Sign" once you review the document. Smallpdf will save the document automatically. Click the "download" button to save the file on your device.

eSign page to download signed documents

eSign page to download signed documents

Tips and Best Practices for Effective Signing

Here are tips and best practices for effective signing on Smallpdf sign.

#1. Review the Documents Before Signing

The need to thoroughly review the document before signing on Smallpdf cannot be overemphasized. This ensures that you understand all the terms and conditions and that all necessary information is captured.

#2. Ensure Your Signature is Legible

It may be challenging to reproduce overly complex signatures. So, it is best to keep all signatures legible and clear.

#3. Save Signed Documents

You will need to have a copy of the documents for future reference. It is, therefore, vital to save the documents once you sign.

#4. Verify the Authenticity of the Document

Before signing any document, run a check to ensure that the integrity of such document has not been compromised. Be on the lookout for possible discrepancies and alterations.

WPS PDF Vs. Smallpdf

WPS PDF and Smallpdf easily come to mind when working on PDF documents. These platforms are popular for providing features that make it easy for users to make changes to a PDF.

While WPS PDF and Smallpdf functionalities are similar, they differ in some key areas.

#1. Features

Though both platforms may have similar features, those offered by WPS PDF are more extensive. This allows users to perform various PDF-related tasks, such as document conversion, editing, and annotation. Users can also sign documents online for free and share them in real-time with their team members.

Smallpdf allows users to add and remove pages, images, text and electronically sign documents. However, team collaboration in real-time, a feature offered by WPS PDF, is unavailable on Smallpdf.

#2. Compatibility

The WPS PDF offers users more versatility as the viewer is compatible with various platforms and document formats. While Smallpdf allows users to work on different file formats, they may encounter challenges as the platform does not support some file formats.

#3. Pricing

Both platforms offer free editing features for PDF documents. However, the premium version of WPS PDF requires users to pay a one-time fee of $29.99. This is more affordable than other PDD editors including Smallpdf that charge users monthly and yearly premium fees to access advanced features.

#4. Efficiency and Speed

Regarding speed and efficiency, WPS PDF makes it possible for users to open and work on their files considerably faster. This is without impacting the quality of output. Smallpdf, on the other hand depends on internet connectivity being an online platform. This can make working on the platform slower especially if internet connectivity is poor.

#5. Allowable File Size

With WPS PDF, users can upload and edit documents that are up to 200MB in size. Smallpdf, however, only allows files within the 100MB size range.

#6. Security

Smallpdf ensures the security of the documents. Users can add passwords to their documents or encrypt them to restrict access.

The redaction tool offered by both WPS PDF and Smallpdf takes document security a notch higher. With this feature, users can remove sensitive parts of the document before sharing it with others.

WPS PDF offers all the security features that Smallpdf offers but has more extensive coverage, making it ideal for users signing highly sensitive documents

Best Smallpdf Alternatives - WPS Office

As efficient and reliable as Smallpdf is for PDF-related tasks, WPS Office is a great alternative for users. WPS Office is a modernized powerful office tool app that  offers users an array of features, including WPS PDF.

Some of the functionalities WPS PDF offers users include PDF document creation, signing, editing, and conversion. Its user-friendly interface makes WPS PDF easy to integrate with other WPS Office applications. The security features also help to ensure that documents remain secure.

WPS Office homepage

WPS Office homepage

WPS Office supports digital signatures while offering customization options to users. The best part is that you can edit and sign all documents on WPS PDF, even if you are not connected to the internet.

WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User
Algirdas Jasaitis


Q1: How does Smallpdf Sign ensure the legality of electronic signatures?

The Smallpdf algorithm is configured to generate a verifiable digital fingerprint or certificate for each person who signs documents on the platform. The generation is powered by a cryptographic process, making each signature unique and difficult to forge. However, you must sign up for the pro version to access the cryptographic signing and verification feature.

Q2: Can I sign documents using Smallpdf Sign on mobile devices?

Yes. As a free user, you can sign documents using Smallpdf on any mobile device.


Smallpdf is a platform that makes it easy for users to sign a PDF online without much hassles, among other things. However, you may opt for WPS PDF if the files are large. If you need quick output, heightened document security, and more extensive PDF editing tools, WPS PDF is ideal.  

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.