How to transfer Preview signatures to a new Mac

Apple’s Preview application comes with a signature feature that allows you to capture and embed your signature into any PDF file.

While convenient, you will have to separately capture your signature on each Mac you wish to use your signature on.

This can be a problem, especially if your second Mac does not have a Webcam attached to it for capturing your signature.

In these cases, you can still use the signature feature, but will have to transfer your signatures from one Mac to another.

This procedure takes two steps: copying the encrypted signature file, and copying the keychain password that is used to unlock the signatures in this file.

Copy the Signature File

Open the Go menu in the Finder while holding the Option button, and choose the Library option that appears there. In the folder that opens, go to the following directory:

Containers > > Data > Library > Preferences

Locate and copy the file “” to the same Library location in the user account on your second Mac.

Copy the Signature Encryption Password

  1. Open Keychain Access on your current Mac
  2. Locate the Preview Signature Policy password entry
  3. Right-click this password and choose “Copy Password” from the contextual menu
  4. Paste and save this password to a text file or otherwise write it down
  5. Open the Preview Signature Policy password entry on your new Mac
  6. In the Attributes tab, check the box to “Show password” and authenticate
  7. Replace the current password with the one copied from your prior Mac.
  8. Click “Save Changes”

After doing this, open a PDF in Preview and you should be able to access your signatures from the signature annotation tool. You can press Shift-Command-A to show these tools, or choose the signature option from the Tools > Annotate menu.


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