Signing Documents Electronically with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and Sign

This article provides a comprehensive guide on securely signing documents electronically with Adobe Acrobat DC and Sign.


A digital signature constitutes a legally recognized method for obtaining consent or approval on electronic documents or forms. It is capable of substituting a handwritten signature in almost any context. Digital signatures hold legal validity and enforceability, and are commonly employed in a range of documents such as contracts, application forms, new hire onboarding forms, nondisclosure agreements, vendor onboarding documents, requests for proposals (RFPs), and change authorizations.

A digital signature represents a highly secure form of electronic signature. It is created using a digital certificate and is cryptographically linked to the document through public key infrastructure (PKI). The digital certificate, unique to the signer, is acquired from a reliable third-party source, such as a trust service provider (TSP) or certificate authority (CA). This process involves the verification of the signer's identity by the third party.

Adobe products offer preferred methods for obtaining digital signatures:

  1. Using Adobe Acrobat DC: This method effectively replaces the need to print, manually sign, and then scan a document into a PDF format.
  2. Using Adobe Sign: This approach utilizes a certificate-based digital signature. It enables users to send, sign, track, and manage the signature process through Microsoft Outlook, a web browser, or a mobile device. Adobe Sign is particularly beneficial when acquiring signatures from multiple individuals.

Signing Documents with Adobe Acrobat DC

To sign a PDF document or form in Adobe Acrobat DC, you have several options: typing, drawing, or inserting an image of your handwritten signature. You can also include additional text, like your name, company, title, or date. When you save your document, both the signature and text become a permanent part of the PDF.

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat DC.
  2. Open the PDF document or form you wish to sign.
  3. In the toolbar, click the Sign icon to type or draw your signature. If you have previously added a signature or initials, select it from the Sign options and click on the desired location in the PDF to place it.
    Adobe Sign interface
  4. If it's your first time signing, the Signature or Initials panel will appear. Here, you have the options to type, draw, or import an image of your signature. Once added, signatures and initials are stored for future use.
    • Click Type to enter your name and choose from several signature styles. To view different styles, click Change style.
    • Click Draw to manually draw your signature.
    • Click Image to upload an image of your signature.
  5. If you choose to save your signature and are signed in to Adobe Acrobat DC, it will be securely stored in Adobe Document Cloud for later use.
    John Doe signature
  6. Click Apply, then place the signature or initials in your PDF document.
  7. Once signed, save your document as a PDF and exit Adobe Acrobat DC. Your signed PDF can then be emailed as you would a physically signed document.
  8. Alternatively, you can share your PDF via a link or request signatures using Adobe Sign by clicking the Next icon in the toolbar.

Note for using an image as your signature:

  • Sign your name in black ink on a white, blank sheet of paper. Ensure the signature is centered to avoid capturing the edges during scanning or photographing.
  • Photograph or scan your signature, ensuring the area is well-lit and shadow-free.
  • Transfer the image to your computer. Acrobat/Reader supports JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, TIF, and BMP files. Cropping isn’t necessary, as Acrobat/Reader can isolate the signature from a clean scan or photo.

Signing Documents with Adobe Sign

  1. Go to the Adobe Sign webpage at
  2. Enter your Ithaca College email address in the provided text box and click Continue.
  3. When presented with the option to "Select an Account," choose Company or School Account.
  4. Authenticate using your Ithaca College username and password when prompted for Single Sign-On (SSO).
  5. If asked for authorization, select Do Not Ask Me Again and then click Accept.
  6. To monitor your electronic signature requests, click In Progress to view ongoing requests or Waiting For You to see documents awaiting your signature.

Signing Documents with Adobe Sign's Outlook Add-In

The Adobe Sign Add-In for Microsoft Outlook allows you to electronically sign documents sent via Adobe Sign or through the Adobe Sign web interface.

Installing the Adobe Sign Add-In for Microsoft Outlook

  1. In the Microsoft Outlook desktop application, click on Get Add-Ins located in the Home ribbon.
  2. In the search box, type Adobe Sign.
  3. Select Add for the Adobe Sign Add-In for Outlook. Once added, the Adobe Sign section will be integrated into the Home ribbon.
    Adobe Sign toolbar
  4. In Microsoft Outlook, click New Email on the Home ribbon as if composing a new email.
  5. Select Send for Signature in the Message ribbon to activate the add-in panel.
  6. In the add-in panel, click Get Started.
  7. Authenticate with your IC email address and password for Microsoft Outlook.
  8. Microsoft Outlook will prompt you to allow access to the add-in. Click Accept.
  9. Next, authenticate with Adobe Sign using your IC email address and password.
  10. Adobe Sign will also request access permission. Click Accept.
  11. The add-in panel will update to display the Adobe Sign welcome screen. Click Got It to access the configuration panel.

The Adobe Sign add-in is compatible with both the desktop and web versions of Microsoft Outlook.

Using Adobe Sign with the Microsoft Outlook Add-In

The Adobe Sign Add-In for Microsoft Outlook, available in both the desktop and web applications, operates in two distinct modes: Compose and Read.

Compose Mode

  • In the desktop application, when starting a new email or replying to an existing one, the "Send for Signature" feature is accessible in the Message ribbon.
    Compose mode
  • In the web application, when composing a new email or replying, the Adobe Sign application can be found through the ellipsis (…) at the bottom of the compose panel.
    Read mode

Read Mode

  • In the desktop application, while viewing an email, features such as "Fill and Sign," "Send for Signature," and "Agreement Status" are available.
    Read mode in toolbar
  • In the web application, these features are also accessible when viewing an email, but through the ellipsis (…) at the right of the message panel.
    Read mode in the web

Features include:

  1. Fill and Sign: Enables the sender to add content to a document, sign it, and, if desired, send the file to another party as a completed document.
  2. Send for Signature: Allows the sender to create an agreement that can include multiple recipients, including the sender themselves, although not as the sole recipient.
  3. Agreement Status: Displays a list of the last ten agreements involving the user, indicating their status, such as Draft, Out for Signature, Waiting for Me to Sign, and Signed.

See also: Adobe Acrobat Sign for Microsoft Outlook Add-in: User Guide (

Step-by-Step Guides to Adobe Sign


Article ID: 831
Thu 4/9/20 10:19 AM
Tue 11/28/23 12:50 PM

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