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 print out 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.
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.
Which e-signature software is best?
A number of e-signature applications have gained popularity over the years. The most widely known examples - and our top two choices here - are Adobe Sign and DocuSign, both of which cater to business owners looking to streamline their paperwork.
However, because these applications are dedicated to companies, they can prove a bit too expensive for individual use. HelloSign, owned by Dropbox, is another great e-signature app for both individuals and businesses. It integrates very well with cloud storage providers like Google Drive, Box, Evernote, Microsoft OneDrive, and of course, Dropbox.
For individual users who prefer to pay only for the exact number of documents signed, eSignatures.io is a good choice. Finally, Docsketch is a free alternative that allows you to sign up to three documents per month for zero cost. If you’re an individual who needs to sign a document quickly and without fuss, this is an excellent option.
The best e-signature software you can buy today
Adobe Sign is one of the most popular e-signature apps in 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 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 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 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 worldwide users. 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 addons 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 labelling, 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.
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.