Lion In The Spotlight: How To Use Signature Capture In PreviewWritten by John Thompson on July 21, 2011 · Filed under How To, Software
If you’re creating a document to send to a lot of recipients, signing it can be a huge hassle. You could scan in a piece of paper with your signature written on it but that never works too well, leaving you with the option of signing each copy of the letter or signing one copy and then making a photocopy from the original.
Here’s a better idea: why don’t you take advantage of that FaceTime HD camera sitting comfortably at the top of that new Mac of yours? You can now use Preview in Lion to ‘scan’ in your signature from a piece of paper just by holding it over your webcam, and it works pretty well!
When you’re editing a PDF document in the Preview application, click on the button with the small pen and a line underneath of it to open the annotations toolbar in the window. From this toolbar, there is another button with an ‘S’ which has a line just underneath it. when you click on this button you are provided with a small drop down menu which gives you two choices: ‘Create Signature From FaceTime HD Camera’ or ‘Manage Signatures’.
If this is the first time that you are capturing a signature in Lion, then you’ll want to select the create signature option, as you won’t have any existing signatures to manage. When you do so, the signature capture window will appear, showing your FaceTime camera monitoring what’s going on, and a preview of your signature.
You’ll notice that the video capture from the FaceTime camera has a blue line going across it. To capture your signature, find a piece of paper (white will work best with a black pen, otherwise the program may become confused and spit out a horrific, mashed up version of your signature) and sign it. When you’re done, hold it up to your camera so that the bottom of the signature just rests on the blue line across the window. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t exactly on the blue line, so long as it’s roughly in the vicinity of it, and you will see your signature appear in the preview window next to the image being captured from your camera!
You can capture as many signatures as you’d like, and they’ll all go into your signature list in Preview. Also, there’s no need to capture a signature more than once if it looks ok, as it will be saved in the application and available to you every time you want to open it.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available in Preview right now, so you can’t take your signature and put it straight into a Pages or Word document, but it’s still really useful to have when you’ve exported a letter or other document to PDF and wish to sign it. It could also come in handy if you’re submitting a PDF form and want to save yourself from having to print it off to sign it.
Whatever you end up using signature capture for, it’s a pretty great feature, so get Lion, open Preview and check it out!