Walk-through of How to sign documents with the iPad

Info For Pros · Read in 2 minutes 

After installing the GoodReader for iPad app or for iPhone ($4.99 as of this writing), which is a PDF reader and annotator (the feature we’ll be using), as well as being a text file reader, FTP and Dropbox file browser and synchronizer, image viewer, and much more… follow these steps:


This guide shows how to sign a PDF with your finger (a type of electronic signature, as opposed to a digital signature) and email it. According to my REALTOR® Association‘s new CEO (was the COO prior to July 1, 2011), Mike Cotrill said electronic signatures have been valid for Oklahoma real estate contracts, but only as of May 2011, were digital signatures valid for real estate contracts. He said the Association would include a write-up eventually.

A quick differentiation:

Electronic Signature Examples:

  • Signing via iPad with your finger or a stylus (e.g. GoodReader or zipLogix TouchSign)
  • Faxed signature
  • Agreements made via email

Digital Signature Examples:

  • zipLogix Digital Ink
  • DocuSign (see the demo video on their website – notice, no writing your signature with your finger)
  • Not all electronic signatures are digital signatures, but all digital signatures are electronic signatures (per Wikipedia)

Walk-Through / How-To

Tip: Click each image for the full-size view.

1 – iPad Home Screen, tap GoodReader

2 – Opening GoodReader

3 – Pick your file

4  – Pick your page(s)

5 – Tap center of iPad screen, tap squiggly line (to annotate with your finger)

6 – Select Create an annotated copy (so you keep the original file intact, just in case)

7 – Initial annotation view, tap the color to change to blue (or your preference)

8 – View after changing color from red to blue

9 – Zoom in to allow enough screen space to sign

10 – Signed before zooming out

11 – Zoom out to make sure it’s the size you want it, then tap Save

12 – After tapping Save

13-A – Tap in center, tap send options, tap E-Mail File (or see 13-B, following)

13-B – Tap in center, tap send options, tap E-Mail File + Summary (or see 13-A, previous)

14 – I prefer to select Flatten annotations (see Help Articles about flattening, following)

15-A – E-Mail File (or see 15-B, following)

15-B – E-Mail File + Summary – notes on what was changed (or see 15-A, previous)

GoodReader Settings

1 – Open Settings

2 – Viewing PDF files, scroll to bottom

GoodReader Help Articles

1 – Open Help, tap Viewing Files

2 – Tap PDF

3-A – Tap PDF Annotations, Highlights and Markups (or see 3-B, following)

3-B – Tap Flattening annotations (or see 3-A, previous)

4-A-1 – Read – PDF Annotations, Highlights and Markups (from 3-A)

4-A-2 – Keep reading (from 3-A)

4-A-3 – Keep reading (from 3-A)

4-A-4 – Keep reading (from 3-A)

4-B – Read – Flattening Annotations (from 3-B)


Hopefully this helps you learn GoodReader well enough to benefit from spending $4.99, even if you don’t use it for any purpose other than signing documents… even though GoodReader can do much more.

Feel free to include a link to this blog post when emailing your client a document to be signed.

5 Responses to "Walk-through of How to sign documents with the iPad"
  1. Lyndsy says:

    EXCELLENT information. Your directions are clear and concise, and easy to follow. Thanks for your hard work in posting this info.

  2. Thanks. It did take considerably longer than I expected to post all the screen shots in the right order with the right instructions. I’m glad you benefited from it! 🙂

  3. If you have Adobe Acrobat Professional or a similar tool, check out the video (and the comments) on this page for an alternative way to handle things (on a regular computer): http://acrobatusers.com/tutorials/create-signature-stamp-sign-forms

  4. Jeremy says:

    Can you not use a pre-scanned signature image file with password protection instead of using your finger to draw your signature?

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