I click on the signature button in the Preview.app toolbar:

The following box pops up:

I click on the Click Here To Begin button. The box is now ready for input:

However, I cannot get any markings at all to show up as my signature. My box always looks like the above image.

I've tried doing the above in an image document and a PDF document. I've tried holding down the trackpad while writing and not holding the trackpad down while writing. I've tried using a mouse.

Is there a fix for this bug, so that I can use my Macbook trackpad to write my signature?

Note: the Camera-based signature method technically works on my machine. However, its rendition ability isn't great.

OS X El Capitan, version 10.11.6.

  • I know that I can create my signature in any number of other applications, so this bug is not a huge issue. I thought that I would make this post because I couldn't find a post about this bug online. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 19:56
  • Ever find a solution? I'm having a similar problem, only with the "Camera" option.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 23:02
  • 1
    Apparently some bug in Preview.app, happens even in High Sierra 10.13.4. Closing all open documents and relaunching Preview.app should fix the problem.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 5:28
  • The camera option worked fine for me. I'm running Htgh Sierra 10.13.6.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 17:42
  • @rubik'ssphere ever found a solution? facing the same issue with MacOS Sierra 10.14.3
    – zerohedge
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 10:10

2 Answers 2


I stumbled across getting it working for the first time ever. I've tried using it several times with no success. What was different this time, was while the signature window was active but I hadn't yet clicked "Click here to begin", I accidentally clicked the 'text entry' tool that creates a textbox with default red ink. While that was active and accepting input, I then clicked "Click here to begin", and to my surprise it registered my trackpad signature.

Since I couldn't press a key to end the drawing (since the text box was still active and typing my keypresses), I canceled, exited textbox entry, and tried to register a signature again. This time it also worked.

  • Wow this worked, I had to reread your solution, it is actually very important for the red textbox to be selected and highlighted, which is more difficult to happen by accident than simply clicking the create text button.
    – htafoya
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 19:27
  • This doesn't make sense. If you do that, the signature dialog disappears. At least at macOS 13. Can't confirm for earlier versions anymore.
    – WGRM
    Commented Aug 5, 2023 at 16:06

I had the same problem on 10.13.3 High Sierra. Rebooting the computer fixed the issue.

  • 1
    Sadly, a reboot (or 100) most definitely does not fix the issue on 10.11.6. Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 4:46

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