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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF Apps
This hint shows how to load a one-page PDF into a word processor and place an image or text over the PDF.

I regularly get PDF email attachments that I need to sign and return to the sender. In the past, I've had to print the document, sign it, and scan it to email it back. I was looking for a way to do this without having to print the document (or use Adobe Acrobat), and this is what I figured out.

First, scan your signature and save it as a decent-quality image (.gif works, as does .jpg and .png). Keep this image for any future need. Second, open a word processor (MS Word and Pages both work) and create a new document. Drag the PDF into the document, and it will come up as a smaller document, with adjustment handles. Under 'wrapping' in the formatting palette, make sure the document is in the background, or floating (not Inline). Then, adjust the size of the image so that it exactly fits on the page (it's easier to do this if you reduce the page window to less than 100%).

Once you have the PDF in the background and sized appropriately, you can place images or text boxes wherever you like. Then, simply Print to PDF, and you'll have the merged PDF. The PDF text will remain selectable and the PDF size should not change appreciably (depending on the extras you add).

If you want to do this to a multi-page PDF, it is more time consuming, but doable: first 'Print to PDF' the page you want to change as a single page PDF, and then follow the instructions above. Finally, merge the new PDF page with the old document by either printing the other pages as two separate documents and then using Preview (as in this hint), or by using a PDF Merge application such as PDFMergeX (now PDFGarden) or other freeware.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described.]
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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF | 19 comments | Create New Account
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transparency and FormulatePro
Authored by: paulw on Jan 10, '11 08:12:42AM

Two things to add:

It's helpful to use a gif or png with transparency for your signature so that its background doesn't interfere with boxes and lines on the form you're pasting it into. Remove the background by selecting the background color in an image editor, hit delete, and save with transparency.

Also, check out the freeware app FormulatePro, which handles this job quite well and does multi-page PDF's too.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: michelcolman on Jan 10, '11 08:26:23AM

You can do the same thing with most image editors (for example Photoshop) and, to make it look like you actually printed, signed and scanned the document, you can also rotate by half a degree or so, add some noise and then blur a bit. That way it's not immediately obvious that you put the signature on electronically.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: russkey on Jan 10, '11 08:39:42AM

I find that Illustrator and a transparent background high quality scanned .png of the signature work very well for this. You can open a specific page of the PDF, paste the image, and save in place.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: BiL Castine on Jan 11, '11 07:04:15AM

If you have Photoshop or Illustrator, then you most likely have Acrobat Pro, which includes a signing function. You can create multiple signatures with different display features, I use one with an image of my signature (scanned to PDF) and the date. For security, password is required to use each signature. Signatures are linked to a digital certificate and if the document is modified after being signed a blue bar appears at the top indicating the signature requires validating.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: mankoff on Jan 10, '11 08:58:09AM
Or just use Formulate Pro: http://code.google.com/p/formulatepro/
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http://kenmankoff.com


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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: mankoff on Jan 10, '11 08:58:09AM
Or just use Formulate Pro: http://code.google.com/p/formulatepro/
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http://kenmankoff.com


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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: tofergregg on Jan 10, '11 09:26:41AM

As the author of this hint, I just tried FormulatePro, and it works great. Thanks!



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: egsmith on Jan 10, '11 10:59:20AM

Just out of curiosity, if one uses this technique to sign documents, does that count as legally signing the document?



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: BiL Castine on Jan 11, '11 07:08:00AM

According the US ESign Act, "signatures and records cannot be denied legal validity simply because they are electronic."



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: jaydisc on Jan 10, '11 03:43:19PM

I've been doing this with just Preview



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: gballey on Jan 10, '11 09:09:52PM

What's the process for doing it with just Preview?



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: jaydisc on Jan 10, '11 11:55:14PM

Open PDF in Preview. Paste in signature. Resize and position.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: simsamsep on Jan 11, '11 03:45:17AM

In Preview (5.0.3 in OSX 10.6.6) I can add text to a pdf (ctrl-cmd-T) , but I cannot paste a copied image to a pdf. I can paste images into a different image format, but not in a pdf. How do you do that?



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: jaydisc on Jan 11, '11 03:50:34AM

Hmmm... right you are. You have to save it as an image first which of course loses the text. I guess in the cases I've needed to do it, it's to sign something and fax it back, so losing the text wasn't an issue.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: Cealus on Jan 10, '11 03:45:46PM

I've tried this in the past and while it works at described, there's a problem. If the resulting pdf is opened with Adobe Reader, the signature is easily selectable and can be dragged out to a separate file. Obviously this is a security issue, since your signature can now be transplanted on to another document. Curiously, the signature is not so easily selectable if the file is opened in Preview.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: unforeseen:X11 on Jan 11, '11 09:59:50AM

The same holds true if you just take a screenshot of the signature and paste that screenshot somewhere else. ;)

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this is not the sig you`re looking for.



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Add image or text on top of a one-page PDF
Authored by: Cealus on Jan 12, '11 01:59:51PM

While one can always take a screenshot at 72dpi, the problem is far worse. If you add a signature by the above method, and then open the resulting pdf with Adobe Reader and click the signature with the selection tool (don't click and drag), it will select the signature. Then when the tool changes to a black pointer, drag to the desktop. When I do this, I get the hi-res full sized signature as a tiff file, the same size and resolution as what I used to sign the document in the first place (although I used a png to create the pdf).

The only way I found around this problem is to open the pdf in Preview, select the page with my signature, drag it to the desktop, and open it with Preview as a second file. Convert this second file to a tiff, drag it back into Preview and use it to replace the page with the signature. Saving this back as a pdf with Preview yields a document with a signature page which although can be copied doesn't allow for hijacking your signature, other than in low-res.



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Why not use Automator's watermark feature?
Authored by: thortos on Jan 16, '11 10:30:54AM

Automator has a watermark feature for PDFs, you can use just that from the context menu or use it as a folder action.



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Sign PDFs
Authored by: gramjee on May 26, '11 03:57:48AM

Recently, I've been using a cool app called PDF Signer for this which is available on the Mac App Store. Lets me sign PDF documents with little effort.
http://pdfsign.com



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