Here’s How to Sign a PDF Without Adobe Acrobat Reader
Electronic Signatures

Here’s How to Sign a PDF Without Adobe Acrobat Reader

Will Cannon

Adobe Acrobat Reader is one of the premier PDF viewer and editor tools on the market today. However, to digitally sign a PDF, you’ll need to purchase the paid version of the software.

There are several alternative methods to electronically sign a PDF for free. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know, including the following topics:

  • What is Adobe Acrobat Reader?
  • Why you might want to avoid using Adobe Acrobat Reader for signing PDFs
  • Three simple alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • How to add a signature to a PDF without Adobe
  • How to electronically sign a PDF for free
  • How to sign a PDF in Windows 10

Let’s dive in.

What Is Adobe Acrobat Reader?

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a PDF document software that allows you to view and edit PDF files. It includes both a free version and a paid version, offering more features and functionality. You can use the free version to open and display PDF files. The paid version allows you to edit, print, and alter PDF files.

Adobe Acrobat Reader provides many benefits, such as the ability to open all PDF files. This is important because PDFs can come in several types, but not all PDF readers can open and view each type. 

The downside to Adobe Acrobat Reader is that you’ll need the paid version to edit PDF files. More specifically, the premium version — known as Acrobat Pro — allows you to annotate, scan, and convert. If you need to sign a PDF file and want to use Adobe, you’ll need to purchase the paid model to do it.

Why Would You Avoid Adobe Acrobat Reader for Signing PDFs?

Adobe Acrobat Reader is such a feature-rich, complete PDF reader, which isn’t surprising. Why? Well, Adobe created the PDF file format, so Adobe Acrobat Reader was the first-ever PDF reader. It’s not surprising that the original is so compatible, accessible, and complete.

However, the popular software does have some drawbacks. Because the platform was — and still is — designed for larger enterprises, it’s less affordable for small and medium-sized businesses.

Although there is a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, it can only open and view PDF files. If you need to electronically sign a PDF document, you won’t be able to with the free software. You’ll need to purchase the premium offering: Acrobat Pro.

You don’t need to do this if you just need to digitally sign a PDF document. Instead, there are several free alternatives available on the market. For example, you could use a digital signature software tool. These can be used to electronically sign PDFs and can also be used to digitally sign other file types.

Interested in these simple alternatives? Keep reading.

Signing a PDF: 3 Simple Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader

Below, we’ve listed three simple alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Reader for signing PDF files. You can use any of these to create a digital signature and add it to your PDF document.


Are you looking for a simple and free way to sign a PDF document? You can do so with Signaturely, a cloud-based digital signature software solution.

Signaturely is an eSignature platform that makes digitally signing documents online easy

Signaturely is an eSignature platform that makes digitally signing documents online easy. It allows you to create a digital signature, which can be either typed out or drawn. This can then be added to a PDF document. All documents signed with Signaturely are 100% legally binding.

Electronic signature tools like Signaturely help individuals and businesses save time, effort, and ultimately, money. You’ll spend less time sending, signing, and processing documents. Scanning and faxing pages is a waste of time when these solutions exist.

Any person or organization looking to improve operational efficiency will benefit from using Signaturely. It will streamline any document workflow, regardless of your industry, niche, or profession.

Here’s a walkthrough of how the app works for signing a PDF:

  1. Log in to your Signaturely account.
Log in to signaturely

To begin, log in to your Signaturely account from the main website. If you don’t have one yet, create one — it’s free to do so.

  1. Select the appropriate “Who needs to sign?” option.
Select Signees

After logging in, you’ll land on a page that presents three choices:

  • Only Me
  • Me & Others
  • Only Others

If your PDF document only needs your digital signature, select “Only Me.” If you need your signature and somebody else’s, select “Me & Others.” If you only need someone else’s signature, select “Only Others.”

  1. Attach your PDF document and upload it.
Upload PDF

On the next page, you’ll be able to attach your PDF document. Scroll down and find the “File Uploader” section. Select “Upload File,” and locate your PDF document. Once you’ve done that, hit the “Fill Out & Sign” button.

  1. Use the document editor to add your digital signature.
Prepare for signing

The next page will be the document editor. This is where you can create and add your digital signature to your PDF document. You can also add text, check marks for check boxes, and dates.

After adding everything you need to your PDF document, press “Send” in the top right corner. This will complete your document and allow you to email and download it.

Preview and Markup on Mac

If you’re a macOS user, there is another suitable solution for signing PDF files. There is a default application called “Markup” that you can use to open and view images and PDF files. Not only can you open and view PDFs with it, but you can also fill and sign them.

This is a fantastic, simple solution for anyone using a MacBook, iPad, or iPhone. It’s also free because every device that runs the macOS operating system comes with the Preview app.

Printing, Signing, and Scanning

If those aren’t suitable for your situation, you can always use the traditional method of printing, signing, and scanning. Many businesses still do this, even though it’s an outdated, inefficient way of dealing with contract and document workflows.

Summary: Everything You Need to Know About Signing PDFs Without Adobe

Do you still have unanswered questions about how to sign a PDF without Adobe Acrobat Reader? Below, we’ve listed some common queries.

How Do I Add a Signature to a PDF Without Adobe?

You can add a signature to a PDF without Adobe by using an eSignature tool like Signaturely. It allows you to create a digital signature and add it to your uploaded PDF document. To use it, all you need is internet access and a browser, as it’s a web-based application.

How Can I Electronically Sign a PDF for Free?

You can electronically sign a PDF for free by using digital signature software such as Signaturely. Signaturely is a web-based tool that you can use to create a typed or drawn digital signature. You can then place your signature on your PDF document. It’s free to use. Sign up for an account today.

How Do I Sign a PDF in Windows 10?

You can sign a PDF in Windows 10 by using Signaturely: a cloud-based electronic signature software. Requiring only an internet connection, Signaturely allows you to create digital signatures that you can add to a PDF document.


Adobe Acrobat Reader was the first-ever PDF viewer and editor tool on the market. The PDF file type was created by Adobe, and Adobe Acrobat Reader was the software created to manage it.

Given this, it’s not surprising it’s one of the best PDF solutions on the market today. It’s feature-rich and can open any type of PDF.

However, it’s not for everyone as it has some serious drawbacks. The free version of the software can only open and view PDFs. You must purchase the premium version to edit and alter files.

If you’re looking to sign a PDF with Adobe Acrobat, it’ll cost you money. This isn’t necessary, and we’ve outlined some free alternatives in this article. We hope it has provided some value to you.

Are you looking for an easy, straightforward, and free way to digitally sign a PDF document? Sign up for a free Signaturely account today.

Create a free Signaturely account today!

Work faster and more efficiently with secure and legally binding eSignatures. Create your free account today!

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