Are you looking for the best e-signature software to digitally sign your documents? As the world adapts to a remote and digitized workflow, companies are ditching traditional paperwork in favor of more innovative ways to review and sign documents.
E-signature software enables you to sign documents digitally by drawing or typing in your signature, eliminating the need to take a printout and sign manually.
In case you were wondering, digital signatures are legally binding. In fact, they work just like a physical signature. However, because online paper trails can be difficult to trace, it can prove a challenge to hold anyone accountable.
While you can technically use any document editing software to upload and paste an image of your digital signature taken from your webcam, e-signature applications also use cryptography to record important information like your email address, as well as when, where, and how the document was signed. This creates a digital fingerprint in the event of a court case and makes tracking things a whole lot easier.
We've tested the best e-signature software out there on its pricing, features, and ease of use. In this article, we take a look at some of the best e-signature applications that allow you to digitally sign both protected and unprotected documents, be they in .pdf or .docx format. These apps can be used directly by company administrators while sending out paperwork, or by individual contractors and employees to reliably sign their documents.
The top 3 e-signature software apps right now
Why you can trust Tom's Guide? Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.
The best e-signature software of 2023 in full
Adobe Acrobat Sign is one of the most popular e-signature apps on the market and has been developed by a powerful name in the creative software industry. As with any other product from Adobe, this one comes packed with features and functionality.
Adobe Acrobat Sign offers plenty of ways to personalize your signature. You can either hand draw your initials with a mouse or stylus or upload a previously taken image from your device. There’s even an option to use the app’s built-in camera to take a photo of your signature on the spot.
The software uses an authentication service to ensure complete legal compliance, and recent enhancements allow legal compatibility with life science and pharmaceutical firms. Another feature worth mentioning is integration with the human resources solutions from SAP SuccessFactors.
Adobe Acrobat Sign is available on smartphones and the web. On desktops, you can use the PDF editor Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, which has built-in support for Adobe Acrobat Sign. Plans start at $9.99 a month and go up to $19.99 a month with an annual commitment. A seven-day free trial of the services is available before you buy via Adobe's websites for both packages.
DocuSign is a dedicated e-signature application designed to keep track of large numbers of documents and signees and currently boasts over 200 million users worldwide. The software is straightforward, with plenty of advanced features for those who want them.
DocuSign is built for business use, particularly for companies that are required to send out a large number of documents for signatures at any given time. Accordingly, it features a streamlined inbox for keeping track of all signatures, detailed reports on who signed and when, as well as dedicated templates for your most frequent contracts.
On the signer's end, things are pretty much the same, and DocuSign boasts excellent compatibility with a large number of third-party applications, including those from Google, Windows, Apple, and Salesforce. The encryption and authentication technologies used are also top-of-the-line.
DocuSign is available on iOS and Android, as well as Windows. There’s also a standalone web application that can be accessed from any other platform. You can sign up for a 30-day trial, after which prices range from $10 a month to $40 a month.
HelloSign is a very easy-to-use e-signature application from Dropbox. It also supports custom branding, preset templates, and advanced team management. It enables you to send and review legally-compliant signatures on various agreements.
HelloSign has the best compatibility with any cloud storage service in the industry, supporting Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote, and OneDrive. You’ve also got add-ons for Chrome and Salesforce. It even supports the web automation app, Zapier.
On the signer's end, things are kept pretty simple. You can either hand draw your signature or add a custom image from your device library. HelloSign uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256-bit encryption on all documents and communications throughout its platform.
The software is free forever for up to three documents per month. Then there’s the Essentials plan at $15 a month, and the Standard plan at $20 a month, billed annually. The Standard plan supports more features, such as custom branding and analytical reports.
eSignatures.io is a very simple e-signature application, with a pay-as-you-go plan that requires no fixed monthly subscription. You pay only for the exact number of documents you send out. This works really well for freelancers when finalizing contracts with their clients.
eSignatures.io is not made for sending out one-off contracts to single recipients, although that’s still possible. The primary purpose of this software is to create batch templates to automate the process of sending out contracts to several clients at a time.
Other interesting features include the ability to send contracts directly to smartphones via SMS, bulk sending, user management, multilingual support, 2FA, white labeling, and audit trails. eSignatures.io is also compatible with Zapier.
To use eSignatures.io, you pay a flat price of $0.49 per credit. One credit can be used to send out one contract. Credits don’t expire, and there are no monthly, setup, or API (Application Programming Interface) fees involved. Nonprofit organizations also get a 40% discount.
Docsketch’s primary attraction is its forever-free plan, which lets you send out up to three contracts every month for free. This is very useful for individual users such as freelancers or solo entrepreneurs. It’s an easy-to-use e-signature app with lots of useful features.
It is available as an intuitive web application that makes uploading and sending documents a breeze. The user interface is sleek and responsive, making it very easy to operate. Two options are offered at the start: upload a document or create a template. Templates allow you to batch-send documents to multiple recipients.
Docsketch is completely compliant with international e-signature laws. It also integrates flawlessly with Zapier, allowing you to quickly automate all your workflows.
The software costs $8 a month when purchased annually. This plan enables you to send unlimited documents and create up to five templates. As this is a personal plan, only one sender can access the app to upload documents. There’s also a Business plan for $24 a month. This allows for up to three senders and unlimited templates and documents.
|Adobe Acrobat Sign||From $9.99 a month||PC, mobile, web||Microsoft Office, SAP SuccessFactors|
|DocuSign||From $10 a month||Windows, iOS, Android, web||Google Drive, Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Zapier|
|HelloSign||From $15 a month||Web, iOS, Android||Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Evernote, Salesforce, Zapier|
|eSignatures.io||$0.49 per contract||Web||Zapier|
|Docsketch||From $8 a month||Web||Zapier|
E-signature software FAQs
What is e-signature software?
If you're unfamiliar with e-signature software, it can be described as a digital tool that allows you to sign and authenticate electronic documents. E-signature software is designed to make it easier and faster for you to sign documents remotely without having to print, sign, and scan them manually.
E-signature software works by using advanced encryption methods to ensure that your signature is secure and cannot be tampered with. When you sign a document using e-signature software, the software captures a digital image of your signature and embeds it into the document. This digital signature is then verified using a unique algorithm that ensures the authenticity of the signature and the document.
E-signature software can be used in a variety of settings, from business contracts and legal agreements to HR documents and government forms. They provide a fast, secure, and efficient way to sign documents remotely, saving you time and hassle.
E-signature software is a valuable tool for anyone who needs to sign and authenticate electronic documents remotely. By using e-signature software, you can streamline your workflow, improve security, and reduce the need for paper-based document signing.
How to choose the best e-signature software for you
As with any other kind of software, the best e-signature app for you depends on your needs as well as your budget. For individual users, we recommend going with an app like eSignatures.io or Docsketch, both of which offer great plans for personal use.
For business users, Adobe Sign and DocuSign are both formidable candidates. HelloSign is a great option for those who require cloud compatibility and operate with a mostly online workflow.
When choosing the best e-signature app, look for compliance with national and international regulations as well as the kind of security and encryption offered. Then, look for additional features like bulk sending, user management, and templates if you plan to send out multiple contracts to large numbers of recipients.
As always, your budget is also an important consideration to take into account.
How we review the best e-signature software
When we review e-signature software, we want to make sure we recommend products that meet high standards. To do that, we use a careful and thorough process to evaluate each software product we test.
One of the first things we do is install it on different devices to see how well it works on different operating systems and platforms. We also test how easy it is to use, making sure it has an intuitive and user-friendly interface.
Functionality is a critical aspect, and we evaluate the software's capabilities to ensure it supports a variety of document types, signatures, and compliance standards. We check if the software can integrate with other related software that users may be using.
Security is also essential, and we evaluate its features, such as encryption and two-factor authentication, to ensure that it meets high standards of data privacy and protection.
We make sure to test the customer support service to ensure that users can get prompt assistance with any questions or issues they may encounter. Additionally, we evaluate performance for different use scenarios, such as high-volume document signing and when using signatures acquired from third-party services.
By conducting these tests, we provide trustworthy and reliable recommendations for the best e-signature software that people can use with ease and confidence.
For more information, check out our testing methodology page.
Next steps with e-signature and productivity software
Check out our guide on how to digitally sign documents to get started with these e-signature solutions. You can even try Adobe Sign for free.
We also recommend our guides on the best free PDF editors, the best PDF editing software, and the best Apple pencil alternatives.