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An assortment of thoughts.  Mostly tech related.

Sign documents on your iPhone in Mail.app

iOS 9 has brought with it a load of minor improvements contributing to a bigger overall general improvement to reliability and features, making our iPhones and iPads more useful and versatile every day.  Sadly, many of the updates aren't immediately apparent unless you go digging.  Here's something I discovered yesterday that will be valuable to most.

How many times have you been emailed a PDF form to sign and all you have is your iPhone or iPad handy?

Many great tools exist to do this simple task in a third-party way.  Notably, I've been a long time user of Smile software's products for iOS including PDFPen for iPhone and iPad.  Now the ability to sign a document is something that iOS has built into the native Mail.app.

Many will be aware of the new markup features in Mail.  These tools allow you to markup images and documents in ways similar to that of tools like Skitch and Napkin for the Mac.  Scribbling on a map, pointing out a problem in an image by drawing circles and arrows, or just drawing a little sketch to illustrate a point are all easily done with these tools.  What you may be less aware of is the inclusion of a signature feature within the new markup tool in Mail.app that allows you to sign documents (and perform other markup tasks) all without leaving the app.

Here's how you do it:

1. Open Mail.app, locate the email in question and open the attachment that needs signing.

Tap the document once to reveal the Share sheet and new Markup Toolbox icons in the menu bar at the bottom if the screen. (Note: If the toolbox icon doesn't appear, try performing a long tap on the document and then choose 'Markup' from the context menu that appears where you've tapped).

The markup screen appears.  At the bottom of the Markup screen you have a number of tools:

From left to right, there's a Pen/Pencil tool which allows you to draw on the document, enabling you to choose different colours and line thicknesses for your drawing implement of choice.  Next is the Magnifying Loupe - something you can drag over the document or image to enlarge areas to reveal detail without having to pinch and zoom.  Next is a Text tool that allows you to drop chunks of text onto your PDF or image -  handy for filling out form fields.

Lastly, is the Signature Tool - tap it and you'll see the following:

A nice big area to do your best finger signature!  Good luck and use a stylus if you have one. Tap Done and you've created a new signature that you can sign PDFs over and over with.  (Note: Revisiting the signature button allows you to create additional signatures or select any previously saved ones to drop into subsequent marked up documents.)

You'll be returned to the document and have the opportunity to drag your signature around and using the controls at the corners of the image, scale and resize to fit. 

Then you should have something that looks like this.  Hit Done when you're done, and Mail will save the markup changes to a new, modified file all ready to send.  Easy!