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Converting an Excel file to PDF and signing it


iPF Noob
Nov 16, 2012
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United States
I'm looking for any suggestions as to how I can accomplish the following with the least amount of steps as possible:

I have an Excel document that is essentially just a blank form with some headers. I have this form that I've been printing out, filling out by hand, and then having the client sign the print out. I want to remove the paper aspect of this process so what I'd like to do is have the form on my iPad, type of the work performed, and then have the client sign it. Does anyone know of a quick and easy way to accomplish this? From the searching I've done, I'd have to edit the file with a program that can read Excel or Word, convert the file to PDF, and then have an app that will allow someone to sign it. This is certainly doable as it's still a better option than printing it out but I feel like there has to be a way to do this in far fewer steps. Ideally I'd be able to do all of this in one program.

The document that I need to edit, I have to be able to freely type in but it is also a very specific form that I need to use. It is essentially a form with headers and very specific wording with a body section where I can type in freely.

Please let me know if I need to elaborate any further. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Staff member
Aug 30, 2010
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Western NY state (USA)
Is the form big enough to fit on the iPad screen?

Because here's what I'm thinking: Fit the form to the iPad and take a screenshot. Then, use a note taking app to edit the photo with your typing and then your client can sign the form.

I tried this idea out with one of my favorite note taking apps, Noteshelf ($2.99, USD). I didn't have an Excel sheet handy (that I wanted to share :)), but I had a Word document. With Noteshelf, you can make the screenshot/photo of the form and make it the standard background in a Noteshelf note book (so every page is a copy of the form). You can then type text into the box available and switch to a drawing so that your client can sign. It could look something like this:


The cool thing is that you could still print this if need be, or send it to Dropbox (or Evnote) for storage.


There are many apps that can do this, I am sure. This is just my example using the apps I have. Maybe it's an idea to get you started...?



iPF Novice
Aug 15, 2012
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Just to let you guys know they increased the price of Noteshelf to $5.99.


iPad Fan
Jan 8, 2011
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Milton-Freewater, OR
Somewhere there is an app for creating, filling out, and signing forms. It's been mentioned a couple of times on the forum, but darned if I can remember the name. Hopefully someone who knows will come along, or just knowing they are there will help you find them yourself in the App Store.

Here is the solution I would use. Hold in mind I already have all these apps and services, so I'm obviously biased towards using them.

You need:

DropBox (app and account)
Numbers (one of Apple's iWorks apps)
PDF Expert (or another PDF app that lets you sign documents, there are several, each with it's own saving and signing features)

First, in preparation, you import the Excel spreadsheet into Numbers. Make any tweaks necessary so that it looks good and works well. Export a test PDF to make sure that looks good.

Now use the ability of Numbers to open the document in another app, and open it in DropBox. Save it in the native Numbers format in a convenient folder in DropBox. Mark the file as a favorite. What this does is create a template that you won't accidentally overwrite in Numbers. By marking it as a favorite you make sure it's available even when you don't have an internet connection. {You could do the same thing with the Box.com service.}

This is the workflow.

Open DropBox and go to you template. Use Open In to copy it to Numbers.

In Numbers make all changes and work needed. Use the Open In to copy it (as a PDF) to PDF Expert.

In PDF Expert use the Signature feature to have the client sign the document. You can store and use your own signature if the document requires both.

Print, save to DropBox, or email the completed document to the client, as applicable. You can do more than one of these to make sure you have your own copy.

The only down side (that I can see) to this method is that you have to keep cleaning up your old (unsigned) documents in Numbers.

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