The convolutions needed just to get a signature iPad -> macOS

You would think that I could do this without convolutions.

  • Write my signature on my iPad using (insert iPadOS available app XYZ here).
  • Copy that signature to the clipboard (as a PNG or JPG).
  • Directly have that signature appear in my pasteboard on my macOS (to be inserted in an MS Word document).

Heck, you would think I could draw a picture on some app on my iPad and have it directly appear on my macOS.

Absent that I fire up whatever third party clipboard manager does this, does the Apple eco-system not support this? Or have a missed a toggle in my Settings between the two devices (e.g. Crossover).

ps – I solved this a hard way. I wrote my signature in Notes on my iPad but … I also wrote my signature three times to get the best one. The signature transferred to Notes on my macOS but, wouldn’t you know it, I could not lasso-select the signature I wanted and copy it as PNG/JPG to the macOS clipboard. I had to use a third-party app (CleanShot) to do the last step.

I am on the latest iPad Pro M2 with an intel MBP 16in.


I didn’t renew MSO this year so I just tried signing a Pages document. It required convolutions too.

I created a Pages document, saved it to iCloud, and opened it on my iPad. Then I tapped the screen with my Apple Pencil at the location I wanted the signature, made my mark :grinning: in the upper left corner of the drawing box then resized the box as small as possible.

I found it easier to type my name under the signature as the last step of the process rather than chase the typing around the page. After saving I opened the signed document on my Mac.

If you install Word on your iPad this might work for you.

At least you’re ready the next time you have to sign something in triplicate!

(I hope my feeble attempt at humor makes you smile, and doesn’t upset you further).

Oh, and after decades wrestling with the signature problem, I finally solved it.

I retired.
No one needs my signature anymore.


I don’t use Word unless an external demand requires it of me, and I would not use Word at all on my iPad even if I must use Word.

So, I can anticipate that it should … perhaps … likely … maybe … work as you suggest. But it ain’t gonna happen for me even in test mode.


You can use Preview for Mac. It let you create your signature and save it for later use. This is my preferred method.

Just go to Tools>Annotate>Manage Signature or Create Signature

You can use your iPhone/iPad, trackpad or your camera to add a Signature. Best thing about this method is if you’re using iCloud, the signature follows you on any device.

For Page, use Insert>Insert from iPhone/iPad. Either take a photo or sketch your signature using your mobile device.



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Your approach is also my preference. The document was a Word file, not a Preview file. I am reluctant to go through the conversion cycle.


Then use Pages to open your Word file since you mentioned you don’t use Word.

BTW, my issue with adding a signature to a word file, it makes it easy for anyone to lift my signature if I attached it there. If its in a PDF format, your signature is flattened. So for me, best method is still to use Preview regardless if the file is in Word format.

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Couple of options that are slightly easier but still not ideal:

  1. Use Word for iPad and the Draw function to sign directly on the document
  2. Sign a white space somewhere on iPad and screen shot it, then sync your photos to your iPad and you’ll have it

Years ago, I signed a blank piece of paper and scanned my signature. Using a Mac, I added it to the Preview app. I’ve used it for years across multiple Macs and iPads. I’ve never had an issue.

It’s one of the features that made me a Mac addict.


I did this as well. I also save the scanned signature as a PNG file after removing the white background. I can drag the PNG file into any document (Word, Pages, Numbers, etc.) if I need to add a signature. If the document is a PDF I can just add it from the menu in Preview.


I believe after some further time with this that my frustration can be boiled down to a simpler statement. Why does Notes on the iPad not allow me to “lasso” a portion on the page, copy that portion to the iPad clipboard, and share that clipboard (immediately or directly without convolutions) to my macOS machine?

In summary, I would hope that someday we can easily do this …

  • Draw a sketch on the iPad
  • Lasso that sketch on the iPad
  • Drag the sketch across to a shared screen space on macOS
  • Drop the sketch being held in a shared drag+drop buffer into a document running in an app on macOS

In the meantime, I bypassed Notes with a third-party app (ZoomNotes). I bypassed the iPadOS/macOS clipboard with a third-party app (Paste).


My setup: Macbook Air M1, iPhone 14, and latest iPad Mini.

If I open a new note in Notes on my Mac and click on the Photos icon in the toolbar, it shows me both my iPhone and my iPad and offers me to use them to take a photo, create a sketch, or scan Documents.
I can then sketch my signature on those devices, and they get copied into the Note on my Mac. It’s Apple Magic at its best. Couldn’t believe it when I discovered it. I believe Continuity needs to be activated on each device.

I also have no problems creating different signatures and selecting them by simply clicking on them in Notes, and copy and paste into Word.


OK. I found this. This solves the first step.

I cannot simply click on a sketch to select it. This is not possible in my iPad nor on my macOS.

At least I know that I can use my iPad to sketch. The problem is, the copy from the iPad to the mac is the entire page, not just the signature or not just the bounding region for the sketch.


Huh, weird. Just tested again (on Mac). Works fine. However, I noticed that a left click doesn’t always select the sketch. Depends on where in the image I click. Right click seems to work anywhere I click.

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I use the “paste” app, and have a screen shot of my signature saved in a “Signature” bookmark. Super fast. I imagine you could do something similar with Keyboard Maestro?

{EDIT: Oh, I see in your original post that you didn’t want a third party solution…but maybe useful for others…}

The final image is as wide as the notes page. My frustration is that Notes (macOS and iPadOS) lacks a lasso select tool to capture only that part that is desired. To see the problem further, add an additional scribble below your word and try again to select only the first scribbled word.

I’ve since also adopted Paste into my toolbox.