Do you need to digitally sign a document but you don't know which tools to use for the purpose in question? Do you have a digital signature kit but you don't know which programs to use to be able to use it and authenticate your files? Don't worry, I can help you out. If you dedicate a few minutes of your precious free time to me, I can show you all those who, in my humble opinion, represent the best digital signature programs currently present on the square.
I anticipate immediately that it will be my concern to make a clear distinction between the resources designed to affix the digital signature without legal validity, mostly free, multi-platform and easy to use, and those that, on the other hand, after purchasing the appropriate equipment, allow you to sign with legal validity. It is up to you to choose which solution best suits your needs (and the needs of those who will receive the documents you will sign).
Courage then: let's not waste any more time chatting and let's get to work immediately! Below you will find all the best software you can use to sign your files and, if you are interested, at the end of the article you will also find apps for Android and iOS suitable for the same purpose. At this point, I just have to wish you good reading and, above all, good work!
Programs for Digital Signature Without Legal Validity
To begin with, I would like to show you what in my opinion represent some of the most interesting software for digitally signing documents and images without any legal validity (unless you import the signature with legal value following the procedure explained in the guide reported in the next step of the tutorial). Find them all listed below, there are both for Windows that for MacOS.
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (Windows / MacOS)
When you are talking about digital signature programs intended for PDF documents, it is practically impossible not to mention Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, one of the most used software for viewing files in the above format most used in the world.
Using it, you can not only open and view PDF documents, but also make simple changes to them, such as adding your signature. The software is free, fully translated into Italian and is compatible with both Windows and macOS.
To download it to your computer, connect to its official website and press the button Install Now / Download which is on the right. If the box for downloading any additional software (eg. Google Chrome), uncheck it to avoid downloading unwanted software.
When the download is complete, if you are using Windows, open the .exe file you just obtained and click on the buttons Run e Si. Then wait for all the program installation files to be downloaded from the Internet and the installation will start automatically. Next, click on the button Ends but I will complete the setup.
Stai is invented using MacOS, april il package .dmg downloaded, start the file .pkg it contains and waits for the files needed to install the application to be downloaded from the Internet. Then, press the button Ends. Then go to the folder Applications say macOS, click on destroy the program icon and select the voice apri twice in a row, in order to start Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, bypassing Apple's restrictions on applications from non-certified developers (this is only necessary at the first start).
Now choose whether to set the program as the default PDF reader or not, after which you will find yourself in front of its main screen: to open the file you want to sign, use the items on the left or the menu Fillet placed at the top. Next, click the button Fill in and sign located in the right sidebar.
At this point, click on the point in the document where you want to insert the digital signature, type your signature in the box that appears and adjust its size by clicking on the buttons with the "TO" in the menu that opens: the one with the smaller "A" allows you to make the text smaller, while the one with the larger "A" allows you to enlarge it.
Finally, save the changes made to the document by pressing the button with the floppy disk located on the toolbar, indicate the destination position, the name you want to assign to the file and click on the button Save.
Nitro Reader (Windows)
Nitro reader is one of the most complete free PDF reading programs available for Windows. Featuring a very intuitive Microsoft Office-style user interface, it offers a wide range of functions to create PDF documents from images and documents in other formats, edit PDFs and digitally sign them.
It also supports scanning of your handwritten signature via the webcam for on-screen reproduction of the documents to be signed. There is also a Pro version, with even more features, for a fee (costs 159 euros), but right now you shouldn't care.
To download the program on your PC, connect to its download page and fill in the form on the left by typing in it your name, your surname and your e-mail address, then click on the button Download Now. On the page that opens, click on the button Download Nitro Reader (64 Bit) (if you are using a 64-bit system) or on the button Download Nitro Reader (32 Bit) (if you are still using a 32-bit system).
When the download is complete, open the file .exe just obtained and wait a few moments for all the components needed to install the program to be taken from the Internet. Then put the check mark next to the item I accept the terms in the License Agreement, in the software window visible on the screen, and complete the setup by clicking on the buttons Si e Finish.
Once the main software window is displayed, if you are pointed out that Nitro Reader is not the default PDF reader, you can choose to set it as such by clicking on the button Set default Programs. Next, close the short introductory tutorial that is proposed to you.
At this point, open the PDF file you need to sign by clicking on the menu Fillet, dopodiché clicca sul pulsating QuickSign located in the toolbar and select the option Create New Signatur and from the menu that opens.
Then, by clicking on the tabs on the left, choose whether to capture your signature via webcam (WebCam), whether to type it at the moment with the computer keyboard (Handwritten), whether to load it from an image (From File) or whether to draw it with the mouse pointer (Draw) and click on the button OK.
Then click on the point of the document where you want to insert the signature and save the changes made to it by pressing the button with the floppy disk, located in the upper right part of the program window. Et voila!
FastStone Photo Resizer (Windows)
FastStone Image Resizer is a small free program that, contrary to what the name suggests, not only allows you to resize digital photos, but also to modify them in series by applying various effects to them. Among its countless functions, there are also some that allow you to add signatures to photos in the form of custom writing (with font and size chosen by the user), or a graphic logo (watermark).
It is extremely simple to use, supports all major graphic file formats and is also available in a Portable version, which does not require installation in order to function. It is for Windows operating systems only.
To use it, connected to its download page, click on the button download for free and click the button again download for free che trovi in corrispondenza della dicitura portable, in order to download the no-install version of the program to your computer.
When the download is complete, extract theZIP archive FastStone Image Resizer in any folder and launch the file .exe contained within it. Once the program window is displayed, select, using theFile Explorer on the left, the image you want to sign and click on the button Advanced Options bottom right.
In the new window that opens, select the tab Watermark, check the box Add Watermark e pulsing sul pulsating [...] to choose the image with your signature. Then adjust its position by moving its preview and clicking on the button OK.
If, on the other hand, you want to sign your file by typing some text at the moment, select the tab Text in the FastStone Photo resizer window that has opened, check the box add Text, type your text in the field on the left, adjust the formatting using the buttons on the screen and press the button OK.
Finally, indicate the location to save the output file by pressing the button KATEGORIEN at the bottom right, choose the final file format from the drop-down menu Output Format and click sul pulsating Convert.
Possiedi a Poppy and none of the digital signature programs I have already told you about convinced you in a particular way? If so, I'm sure you've never noticed, you can use Preview, the “standard” Mac application for viewing and editing “on the fly” of images and PDFs, which includes a special function through which it is possible to digitally sign documents in the format in question.
To use it for your purpose, all you have to do is open the PDF you want to sign (by double clicking on it), click on the button with the pencil located in the toolbar of the Preview window that has opened and press the button with the signature placed a little lower.
Using the menu that opens, select the tab Trackpad to "write" your signature on the computer trackpad and allow Preview to detect it, or the card Camera to write your signature on a sheet to be placed in front of the Mac camera and then allow macOS to detect it. Then press the button end.
Once the signature has been created, you can affix it to the document by clicking on it from the appropriate menu that is shown to you after pressing the button with the signature and moving it to the desired location in the file. If necessary, you can also resize it by moving its sliders. To save your changes, click on the menu Fillet and select the item Save da quest'ultimo.
While not really a program, DigiSigner certainly deserves to be mentioned in an article of this type: it is, in fact, an online service that allows you to apply digital signature to PDF files in various ways. It also allows you to encrypt documents with a digital signature or create visual signatures to be affixed to files using images on your PC.
It's free, but allows you to upload a maximum of three documents per month. To get around this limitation, you need to switch to the paid variant (it costs $ 10 / month in the Pro version and $ 40 / month in the Team version), which also includes some extra features. It is compatible with any browser and operating system.
To use this service, connect to its home page and create an account indicating, in the fields on the screen, your e-mail address and the password you want to associate with it. Then click on the button Sign up free.
Now that you see the main interface of the service, click on the button Upload document at the top left and select the PDF on your computer that you need to sign. When loading is complete, press the button Sign that you find in correspondence with the name of the file in the list in the center of the page and click at the point of the same where you want to affix the signature.
At this point, choose, by selecting the reference card, whether to type the signature with the keyboard by writing it in the appropriate field and selecting one of the available models (Type), whether to draw it with the mouse, with the trackpad or with the graphics tablet connected to the computer (Draw), whether to upload it by selecting an image with your signature saved on your computer (Upload) or whether to scan it via webcam (webcam). Finally, click on the button Sign.
When the changes are complete, click the button with the down arrow located at the top of the page to download the signed PDF to your computer. It was easy, wasn't it?
Programs for Digital Signature with Legal Value
Let's now turn to the solutions that allow you to digitally sign documents with legal value. Starting from the fundamental assumption that it is first necessary to purchase and activate the digital signature by contacting one of the reference companies (eg. Aruba or Poste Italiane), then it is possible to use the software supplied directly by the latter, coupled with token USB, To Smart card readers or to USB sticks and after downloading the related driver.
Next, what you will have to do is start the signature software integrated in the kit (or downloaded from the website of the company providing the kit) and click on the icon for theapplication of the digital signature. You will then need to select the fillet on which to sign, insert the PIN of the device in your possession and select the type to apply to the document. Typically, the available signature types are as follows.
- P7M Encryption Envelope (CAdES) - creates a new file in P7M format that contains the original document and digital signature files. It can be applied to all types of documents.
- PDF signature - create a PDF file with signature included, which can be invisible or graphic. It can be applied, as you can guess, only to PDFs.
- XML signature (XAdES) - create a new file in P7M format. The signature in question can be applied to all types of documents.
After signing, the documents can be check through the specific functionality attached to the software.
For more details on what to do, on the digital signature with legal value in general and also on how to use software like the ones I reported to you in the previous step to affix the signature with legal value, I invite you to read my guide on how to sign digitally through which I have addressed the issue in an extremely detailed way.
Digital Signature App
As anticipated at the beginning of the post, there are also some app for Android and iOS which you can use to digitally sign your documents on the go. Below you will find some of the most interesting.
- Adobe Fill & Sign (Android / iOS) - is the Adobe home application to sign and fill out documents in PDF format directly from mobile, without having to print them first. Free.
- SignEasy (Android / iOS) - this is a basic functionality application to sign PDF documents imported from local files and to easily send them to other users. The first three documents can be signed for free, then you have to pay (the base price is € 10,99) to unlock their operation.
- SignNow (Android / iOS) - Allows you to create custom signatures through an easy-to-use interface and affix them to PDFs and various other types of documents in an incredibly quick and easy way You download for free but, to use it, you have to proceed with in-app purchases (the base price is 2,99 euros).