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File extension .pdf
Internet media type application/pdf
Description: PDF or Portable Document Format is a universal file extension developed in 1993 by Adobe Systems, is one of the most popular document format. It is used by corporate users as well as by individuals. That’s because with PDF you don’t need to worry about how your files look once they are printed or opened with another program.
Technical Details: PDF format allows you to save fonts, images, and the layout of the original document, regardless of the application it was created with. PDF format is recognized global standard in the field of replication and exchange of securely protected electronic documents and forms. PDF files are small and self-contained and supports links (inside document or web page).
Developed by ISO
Initial Release: 15 June 1993
Useful links:


The Ultimate Features Comparison Chart

As a result of the high level of competition on the web, choosing the best application can be challenging — especially if you don’t correctly compare it with the alternate options. Our checklist will help you quickly find your favorite tool to SignFree. Look at the strong features of AltoSignFree.

Split PDF
Merge PDF
Combine & Reorder
Extract Pages
Compress PDF
Rotate PDF
No Software Downloads
Cloud storage Unlimited No info No info
Price Free Free 7-Day Trial for Smallpdf/ paid Free 7-Day Trial for Adobe Acrobat/ paid
Encryption and Security
Support 24/7/365 No info
No ads

How-to guide

How to sign the pages of a PDF document online

  1. Open the web-service in your device’s browser.
  2. Add the template to the service through the drag and drop option.
  3. Use “Browse for a file” option and import document from the device’s memory..
  4. It is also possible to click at the cloud solution icon and add the file from there.
  5. Wait half of a minute until document uploads.
  6. Select the signing variant you prefer.
  7. Create a signature by drawing it, typing, or make a photo of the initials, written on paper.
  8. Apply changes and your template will be complete.
  9. Save the template either to the computer, phone or to the cloud.

How to Digitally Sign a PDF

With this solution, you can effortlessly certify a document using any device connected to the Internet. Just visit the web-service and effortlessly certify any PDF!

How to add a Signature to a PDF Online

The best way to digitally certify a document is by processing it via a web-based service. What makes these solutions so effective is that they are easy to access from any device. And electronic initials are easily created with the AltoSignPDFFree solution. You don’t need to undergo the process of registration or make any annual/regular payments. The process goes by quickly, smoothly and without any problems. As a final result, you get legally binding, handwritten-like initials.

Complete the process by doing the following:

  1. Drag and drop the template to the website. Add it from your device’s memory or include files from the cloud.
  2. After the document is uploaded, it will be available for further signing.
  3. Create your certification by drawing it or add a picture of it written on paper. Place it in the appropriate cell on the page.
  4. Complete the changes and save the certified file.

The Alto platform doesn’t have access to any information included in the document. 

Both original and final docs are removed from the service right after you reload the page or start a new operation. That is why we highly recommend saving the certified file right after the process is completed. Also, the solution is based fully in the cloud. This means that nothing stored in your device will be accessed. This platform is the perfect choice for both long and short-term use.


How to Sign a PDF in Chrome

Digital certification is gaining more popular by the day. And those who neither want to install programs or visit an online-based website can use a Chrome extension to do this. The Alto Signature Creator is a tool that integrates with Chrome and lets you create certification right from the browser. It’s secure and helps you easily create digital initials without installation of any expensive programs. It also greatly simplifies the process of adding your initials to a document.

Add your signature by following these instructions:

  1. Open the Chrome Web Store. Add the Alto Sign extension to Chrome.
  2. Use your browser to preview the document.
  3. Add your certification to it and save the changes.
  4. Download your file or save it to Google Drive.

Alto Sign is one of the best services available - thanks to its fast installation and robust integration with your browser. It easily accelerates the digital signing process. With this solution, anyone can process docs and be assured that all files are fully secure. Just insert your initials in the document and it will have a legally binding signature. In addition to looking the same as if it were handwritten, this signature makes your templates look neat and professional. It is a free and superior alternative to paid software.

How to Certify a PDF on Windows

Windows doesn’t have any default solutions for editing documents in PDF format. It only allows you to open PDFs for preview - using the default browser or any other browser you prefer to use. That’s why if you want to certify a document, you will need to install a new program or visit an online service. It’s better to install software from the MS store. It is one of the most secure services available and it provides licensed software that is safe for your computer. 

Simply find the needed solution and install it to your device.

Complete the document signing process by following these simple steps:

  1. First open the solution and add your PDF.
  2. Create your certification.
  3. Place the signature in the corresponding area of the page.
  4. Save the document you edited to your computer.

By installing a signature creator on your Windows-based computer, you will immediately save yourself time and accelerate your file processing. Also, it’s independent of an internet-connection and has high-security measures. You have the option to choose services with multiple features or a single-feature creator. Be ready for the fact that some software may require you to be online if you want to synchronize your data. These services may also require registration or be free of charge - but only during the trial period.


How to Add a Signature to PDFs with Mac Preview

Mac computers have pre-installed programs, like Preview for example. It easily opens PDF documents to make content easy for previewing. It can rearrange pages and combine the pages of several PDFs into one. This solution can also certify documents, although not all users are aware of this feature. You can find this feature hiding in plain sight in the main toolkit. Additional tools become visible after you click on the pen symbol.

The certification process goes by quickly and smoothly when you follow the recommendations given below:

  1. Go to Preview to open the file.
  2. Click on the pen logo and you will see a panel with additional options.
  3. Choose the icon with initials and a pop-up window will appear.
  4. Draw your signature using the touchpad and submit the changes.
  5. Add your initials to the needed area of the page. 

With Preview, you don’t need to install any additional software or make any payments. It comes with the OS by default. The certification created with this service will look the same as if it were written on paper. Additionally, it is fully secure and safe. Remember, you should not provide your personal information to any third-party solutions. You can also use this solution in offline mode, so you can process your files with it at any time.

With Preview Mac

How Can I Sign a PDF in Adobe Reader?

Adobe Reader DC is a widely known solution used by numerous individuals and companies worldwide. This software can be installed on Windows computers, Mac computers, Android-based mobile devices and iPhones. It has the registration procedure as the first step after it is downloaded and launched. Right after you create an account, start your free trial period. It lasts for a week and some options are limited until you pay for a subscription. You can either select a subscription plan and make a payment or use the service with limited features. Unfortunately, certification is available only for the paid plan.

To complete the process of signing a PDF template with Acrobat, refer to the directions given below:

  1. Start by opening the program and add your document to it.
  2. Go to the upper right-hand toolbar and click on the Sign icon.
  3. Next, you will see a pop-up window.
  4. Tap on the signature icon and specify what way you would like to add your certification.
  5. Create the signature. Draw it, type it or add its photo.

To install the program, visit the official Adobe website to install the licensed software. 

This solution, in its full version, synchronizes information from all devices to make all the changes in the documents up to date. When connected to the Internet, it has access to all the files saved in Adobe Document Cloud. Still, you can edit docs while offline and all changes will be updated once your connection is renewed.

With Adobe Acrobat Reader


An electronic signature is a unique type of certification that is gaining worldwide popularity. Its standard format looks like a traditional signature written on paper. Also, this certification may be combined with graphic signs, biometric data (e.g. fingerprint) or encrypted code. Those types of signatures can be used separately or together to increase security.

Did You Know?

Enjoy your editable PDF

One of the best things about PDF is that it can be viewed and modified by the right online editor, no matter what software it was created in. You can always stay ahead by using advanced tools for review - form creation to protection and online signing. All the features you need are in one solution that you can take anywhere.