Doug Behl and Ken Getz: Tech tips — sign a PDF document on iPhone |

Doug Behl and Ken Getz: Tech tips — sign a PDF document on iPhone

Doug Behl and Ken Getz
Guest Column

Occasionally, I get PDF files attached to email messages that require my signature. At this point, I print the document, sign it, scan it back into a PDF file, and attach it to an email response to the sender. What a pain! Is there some easier way to do this?

Yes, your workflow can work, and it’s the way people have signed documents for years. Well, actually, most folks get documents via USPS mail, sign them, and mail them back. Or print their email, sign it, and mail back the signed documents on paper.

The current operating system on your iPhone, starting with iOS 9, makes this really easy. You don’t need to print the document, and you don’t need to scan it back into digital format. Instead, you can take advantage of iOS Mail’s markup capabilities.

When you receive an email message with a read-only document, such as an image or a PDF file, you can use the markup tools to highlight regions, magnify regions, add text, or insert a signature into the document.

To test this “magic,” find an email message that has an attached PDF file (or send yourself one to test with). Once you receive the message, tap on the PDF file to view it. Tap on the “toolbox” icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. This action creates a reply to the original message with the PDF file attached, and allows you to modify the contents.

In Markup mode, click the first icon at the bottom of the screen to highlight content in the PDF file. You can choose pen width and color. Note the Undo arrow and the Cancel button in the upper-left corner of the screen.

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Click the second icon to zoom specific regions for emphasis. Once you see the zoom “ring”, move the green dot to increase or decrease the amount of zoom. Use the blue dot to increase the size of the magnifying glass. This tool provides a great way to emphasize a specific region of the document for the recipient.

Click the third toolbar icon to insert a text box. Inside the new text box, enter any text you’d like to see on the returned document. You can change the font name, font size, and font color, as well as the justification within the text box. You can increase the width of the text box, using the blue dots on the edges of the box.

Finally (the reason you asked the question), click the fourth icon to insert a signature. If you have previously used this feature, iOS will suggest an existing signature, but you can also add or remove signatures. Once you have added a new signature, if necessary, tap it to insert it into the PDF file. You can move and resize the signature as needed.

When you’re done marking up the PDF file, click Done in the upper-right corner of the editor. The iOS Mail app creates a reply message for you, with the marked-up document attached. Click Send as normal, and your recipient will receive your marked up/signed document. What could be easier?


I read books on my Android phone at the gym, using Amazon’s Kindle application. I have some books on my phone that I read years ago, and I’d like to get rid of them. I tried deleting them from my device, but they still show up in my Amazon account. How can I remove them from my device and permanently remove them from my account? I’m not going to read them again!

This has frustrated us, as well. It’s nice to be able to carry around a bunch of books on our devices, but once we’re done with some of them, we would love to have them disappear. (Ken recalls some really awful science fiction books he slogged through that he’d like to see disappear from the Earth, not just his Kindle account!)

Note that this discussion applies to any device that runs the Kindle app, including the actual Amazon Kindle devices, as well. It’s easy to delete content from your device: Find the title you want to remove, tap and hold on the title, and then select Remove from Device from the context menu. This action deletes the content from your device, but leaves it in your Kindle account.

If you want to completely remove the book from your Kindle account (think of poor Ken’s terrible sci-fi addiction), you’ll need to take a few more steps. To do this, you’ll need to use a Web browser, and this is easier on a large screen like a desktop or laptop computer than it is on a device with a small screen. Log into your Amazon account, and select Manager your content and devices. On this page, you’ll see a list of all your Kindle books.

Find the book you want to delete, and click the button with three dots to the left of the book title. In the pop-up menu, select Delete. You get one chance to confirm your deletion, so think twice before clicking. If you accidentally delete a book, you’ll need to pay for it again if you decide to re-read it. So take this action seriously!

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at Submit your own technical questions to