Whether you need to get a lease or sale agreement signed or draw up a professional contract, gone are the days where all involved parties have to meet face-to-face just to sign the official documents. Sure, in some situations it still makes sense to do that, depending on what’s happening during the transaction — you may want to pick up your keys, for example. But most contractual agreements, forms, and official documents can be signed digitally these days, both online and through mobile apps, thanks to esignature software.
Also sometimes referred to as e-sign tools, they can be used via a website, through a browser, or mobile app, to sign documents digitally. What’s particularly great about them is that they make the entire process so much simpler, and faster. It’s possible to sign a legally-binding document, remotely, while the parties are hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. In the interest of support, we rounded up all of the top esignature software picks, below, along with laying out some of the finer details about each tool. Keep reading to see those, and more, like what these tools are used for most, and what kind of benefits you can expect to see from them!
- Subscription: Annual, monthly
- Starts at: $10 per month (personal), $25 per month per user (business)
- Free Trial: 30-days
- Premium Features: SMS delivery, insights, ID verification, and more
- Not everyone needs a premium or DocuSign account to sign documents
- Solutions are available for regulated industries like government, healthcare, etc.
- Mobile app available
With over a million customers and signers under its digital belt, DocuSign is one of the more prevalent esignature tools and applications out there. It’s suitable for personal and business use, as well as for real estate operations, and developers. Unlike most — which have much shorter trials — DocuSign offers a 30-day free trial allowing you to use the service for up to a full month before subscribing to the premium services. Plans are billed either monthly or annually, with discounts for annual subscribers.
As for the service, it offers both online esignatures, through the website, and mobile signatures using the app. Of course, that comes with contract lifecycle management and document tracking for professional and business accounts, along with a host of other features. There are solutions available if you’re working in regulated industries, but you’ll have to reach out directly to the sales team for more information.
All users, whether subscribed or not, can access documents to sign them, and download them after the process is complete. So, even if you’re subscribed and your clients or peers are not, they can still sign and interact with the documents you send.
- Subscription: Annual, monthly
- Starts at: $8 per month per user (personal and business)
- Free Trial: 7 days
- Premium Features: Unlimited templates, personalized branding, bulk sends, reminders, and notifications, payment collection, conditional documents, industry-leading compliance and security
- Recipients can sign on any device, without account registration or app download
- Built for big and small businesses
- Intuitive mobile app and native integrations with Salesforce, SharePoint, Microsoft 365, and more
The award-winning eSignature provider offers signing, sending, and tracking opportunities for customers, and far beyond. signNow helps streamline document workflows, making it easy to send, track, and manage documents online. signNow empowers users to reduce paperwork, improve team collaboration, and easily access documents using any desktop or mobile device. Users are billed either monthly or annually — their choice — with personal and business subscription opportunities available. You can sign up for a 7-day free trial if you want to see how it all works before paying for a subscription.
signNow stands out from the competition through the platform’s ease of use, quick setup, responsive support, and intuitive mobile apps — available for both iOS and Android devices. Not only is it incredibly easy to use, but also it integrates with dozens of productivity apps, cloud storage services, and CRMs. Some examples include Salesforce, SharePoint, Google Workspace, and more. In addition to personal and business usage options, SaaS, private, and public cloud deployment options are available.
Like any of the other tools here, anyone can access and sign a document that’s been sent to them. They do not have to be paying subscribers to complete a form or sign a document.
- Subscription: Annual
- Starts at: $10 per month (personal), $17 per month per user (businesses)
- Free Trial: 7-days
- Premium Features: Use e-sign in Microsoft 365, administrative console, customized branding, and more
- Sign, collect signatures, track tasks, send reminders, and more
- Desktop and online PDF tools — mobile signing too
- Industry-specific compliance, including HIPAA, FERPA, GLBA, and more
Adobe’s Sign esignature tool is built for speed and usability. The goal is to get people in, and out, fast, with completed signatures available instantly. Adobe Acrobat PDF documents are the signature format, as is to be expected. They can be accessed on desktop — and via the web — or mobile. Customers are billed annually, with personal and business account options to choose from. What’s more, there is a 7-day free trial available if you want to test out the service first.
Because of Adobe’s standing, and support, industry-specific compliance opportunities are available, which adhere to HIPAA, FERPA, and additional standards. An administrative console allows you to customize branding, track insights, and much more. The tool also integrates with a bevy of services, including Microsoft 365, which actually lets you sign from directly within the tech giant’s office suite.
All users can access and sign documents from Adobe’s esignature platform, regardless of subscription or account status.
- Subscription: Annual, monthly
- Starts at: $8 per month (personal), $24 per month (business)
- Free Trial: No, but free limited account
- Premium Features: Document templates, customized branding, data validation, in-person signing support, and more
- A free limited account is available with a set amount of documents per month
- Supports both in-person and virtual business signings
- Sign directly within app or service, no need for additional software
Tailored for businesses of all sizes, SignWell offers a variety of signing options, including in-person and virtual opportunities. Premium accounts can create document templates, with an unlimited amount of reuses, and conduct audit reports with fully-detailed insights. Customized branding is available for all documents, with data validation for added security.
One of the more useful features is the blank line autodetection within documents to help quickly determine places to sign or fill in. All users can sign documents from directly within the app or web service, without the need for additional software. While there is no free trial, there is an option to sign-up for a free, limited account. Premium subscriptions are billed monthly or annually, with personal and business-friendly opportunities available.
When sent a document from Signwell, all users can sign, access, and interact with the said document, regardless of paid status.
- Subscription: Annual, monthly
- Starts at: $8 per month (personal), $25 per month per user (business)
- Free Trial: 14-days
- Premium Features: Unlimited templates, customized branding, administrative dashboard, Salesforce integration, two-factor authentication for signers, and more
- Built specifically for professionals and small businesses
- Extensive email and phone support through Signeasy
- Integrates with Google Workspace, Zapier, Office 365, Salesforce, and more
Another esignature provider focused on optimizing documents and business workflows, Signeasy offers fast and friendly support. Users can sign documents through the mobile app, or website, and it works seamlessly with additional business tools like Microsoft 365, Google Docs, Slack, and so on. Both personal and business accounts are available, with a 14-day free trial to get the lay of the land. Users are billed monthly or annually, depending on how you want it done.
Besides unlimited templates, and sharing, customized branding, and full access to an administrative dashboard, the premium subscription also includes two-factor authentication, even for signers, easy access to documents and services, and so much more. If there’s a problem the extensive email and phone support channels are always at the ready.
Anyone can access and sign documents that are sent from Signeasy, including users that do not have a premium account.
- Subscription: Annual, monthly
- Starts at: Free, $19 per month per user (business)
- Free Trial: 14-days
- Premium Features: Templates, drag-and-drop editor, document analytics, 24/7 email and chat support, and more
- Free account allows for unlimited legally-binding signatures, unlimited uploads, payments, and mobile app access
- Handles proposals, quotes, contracts, esignatures, forms, and more
- Integrates with dozens of tools like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zapier, Google Docs, and more
Meant for fast-moving teams and businesses, at scale, PandaDoc is an incredibly sophisticated esignature solution with some pretty impressive features to boot. For starters, all users can sign-up for a free account with access to unlimited legally-binding signatures, unlimited document uploads — to the cloud — as well as access to the payments system and mobile app. A premium business account will tack on additional support, like access to template creation, the drag-and-drop editor, and document analytics. PandaDoc also provides 24/7 email and chat support, if and when there’s a problem.
Users will be billed monthly, or annually, depending on which plan they prefer. Premium accounts are primarily for business use, but solo and personal users can upgrade to access the extra features. A 14-day free trial is available for premium access, as well. The service is good for proposals, quotes, contracts, forms, and so much more. Third-party app and tool integration is possible, through Salesforce, Zapier, and beyond.
All users can access PandaDoc content regardless of subscription status. This makes it easy to send documents to all clients and collect signatures for business transactions.
Esignature software is a blanket term referring to digital signature or e-sign tools, which may or may not facilitate remote transactions. In other words, there are different kinds of software, and not all of them are used in the same ways. For example, legal tools may still call for both parties to be present at the time of the signing, it just makes the process faster and reduces the use of paper and physical documents. Other tools do support remote signings across great distances, whether online or through a mobile app.
However, don’t underestimate the value of paperless docu-sign processes. It saves a lot of time signing digitally. The documents don’t have to be physically printed, transported, handled, or even filed after the transaction is over. Most of those tasks are done instantly. What’s more, misplaced documents are much easier to relocate when they’re saved digitally — using proper protocols. It’s also easier for legal teams to track down involved parties, or identify delinquent signers.
Are digital signatures officially recognized?
Thanks to the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN), passed in 1999 and 2000, digital and electronic signatures are both officially and legally recognized. As long as both parties agree to use electronic signatures, the contract or document is binding.
What is digital signature software best used for?
Anything and everything. But to be more specific, digital signature and esignature software is best for business and professional use, including signing legally binding documents. The tools might be used to sign a freelance or employment contract, to draw up a contractual agreement between two parties for sales or trades, and much more. Healthcare providers use e-sign tools to both retain information from patients and record authorization. Even credit card and payment providers allow esignatures for purchases.
Are eSignature tools for personal or professional use?
Esignature tools offer support for both types of users, professional and personal. In most cases, if you’re a freelancer or contractor, for instance, you can use the tools to send out a limited amount of documents, for free. A premium subscription will net you unlimited access and a host of other features. Whereas, business users can subscribe to unlock support for an entire team, usually billed per user.
It’s important to note that if you are sent a document to sign from any of these services you do not have to pay to sign the form(s). A subscription covers the signers too, and the original document creator is who pays for access. When the document is signed by all parties, you should also be able to download it for your records.
What are the benefits of eSignature software?
There are many benefits to using digital or electronic signature tools, but the most important is the time saved, and the convenience they offer. Of course, some of the other benefits include:
- Digital documents are much cheaper to maintain
- It’s better for the environment
- Enhanced user experience that’s easy to understand and use
- Reliable security especially with encrypted documents
- Easier participant or progress tracking
- Always-on and anywhere access
- Better organization and document tracking with fewer lost documents
Are there any downsides to eSignature software?
There are caveats to using electronic signature tools if things are not handled appropriately. For example, one of the major concerns is whether or not the service, or software, is compliant with the latest electronic signature laws. If a document is signed using a tool that’s not up to par, when a problem occurs, the courts may nullify the contract. So, it’s very important to ensure that the tools you use are compliant.
What’s more, because we’re talking about technology and digital solutions, there’s always the possibility of software vulnerabilities. Unauthorized parties or bad actors may gain access to documents that are not properly secured. It’s also difficult to track minor changes in a digital document sometimes, meaning one or more parties could change the language in their favor.
That said, all of these potential downsides can be remedied through careful consideration, vigilance, and the following of proper security protocols. The convenience and ease of use often vastly outweigh the potential risks involved, especially considering esignature software and digital document tools deploy reliable security measures.
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