The best e-signature software in 2021
Table of Contents1 The best e-signature software right now1.1 01. Adobe Sign1.2 02. DocuSign1.3 03.
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The best e-signature software can save you a lot of time and energy, if you need to sign and return a lot of documents, or get others to do so. Because rather than having to physically print out documents, sign them with a physical pen and then scan them in again, these apps allow you to sign everything digitally using your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
With so many of us currently working from home at the moment, that’s a massive efficiency saver. And so this software will probably pay for itself very quickly in terms of time saved, not to mention reducing the need for paper and printer ink.
None of these services come particularly cheap, though, so which is the best fit for your money? We believe that the best e-signature software overall is Adobe Sign, as it’s packed with features, is secure, legally sound, and offers an impressive level of automation. Plus it’s available in a bundle with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, number one on our list of the best PDF editors (see the deal below or keep an eye on our Creative Cloud discount page).
Other tools are worth looking at for specific purposes, too, though. So read on as we introduce you to the very best e-signature software available today, and explain which choices are best for different use cases.
The best e-signature software right now
First launched in 2006 (as EchoSign), Adobe Sign is our pick of the best e-signature software overall, because it offers all the signing features you’re likely to need, its signatures are legally binding, and in practice it functions smoothly, efficiently and reliably.
Adobe Sign lets you send, sign, track, and manage signatures digitally, via a mobile app or web browser. You can also request e-signatures from clients, create branded forms, track responses, get email notifications, and send reminders for e-signatures.
The software meets or exceeds stringent security and legal compliance standards across the world, and its e-signatures are legally binding in nearly every industrialised nation, as well as many less-developed countries.
If there are specific workflows you need to follow, whether they’re for your own use or due to company policies, there are a lot of options for customisation. There’s a good audit trial, making it’s easy to track what’s happened to your signature requests, and you get good notifications, too. The app integrates nicely with other software in the Adobe Document Cloud, as well as Microsoft Office apps. In summary, this is first-class software that does what it needs to do, well.
The only real downside is the cost: this is by no means the cheapest option on our list. But if you have to sign a lot of documents, and/or send out a lot of documents to be signed, you’ll find it well worth it in terms of time saved and stress relieved.
Founded in 2003, DocuSign has been providing e-signature services for a long, long time now, and it shows (in a good way).
This is highly professional e-signature software with a large user base and excellent integrations with enterprise software such as Salesforce, making it our top recommendation for medium to large businesses. It’s not rested on its laurels either; for example, it recently launched an integration with Workplace from Facebook.
You can use DocuSign to sign a wide variety of documents types, from contract to school permission slips. You can create documents for others to sign, using provided templates, and add tags to make it obvious where people should sign. You can specify in which order they should sign, generate deadlines and reminders to sign, and add signature fields to existing documents, as well as websites and apps.
All in all, this is a feature-packed e-signature software solution that works great at scale, and is seamless in operation. It is pretty expensive when you start getting into the pricing plans aimed at business and multiple users. However, at the other extreme there’s a limited free version, if you just wish to sign documents yourself (up to three per month) and don’t need others to do so.
You’ve probably heard of Dropbox, one of the best cloud storage providers around today. Well, Hello Sign is the company’s e-signature solution and it’s beautifully integrated with the cloud. As well as playing nicely with Dropbox (as you expect), it also works beautifully with Google Drive, Box, Evernote, and OneDrive.
You might want to start with the free plan. You get only three signature requests per month, and it’s missing some of the pro features of the paid plans, such as data validation, template links and multiple languages. But for anyone bootstrapping a new business or freelance operation, it’s a useful service for no money whatsoever.
The paid version is fairly affordable too, making a good choice for freelancers and small businesses. Admittedly, the templates are quite basic, it’s not the most feature-rich tool, and there aren’t as many software integrations as with Adobe Sign and DocSign. But that simplicity does make the interface very clean and easy to use, and many might consider that a feature rather than a bug.
Do you run a team? Are you looking for e-signature software they can all use, without busting the budget? Then it’s worth taking a look at SignNow.
Firstly, its pricing per user is more transparent than most of its rivals. And secondly, if you pay annually, it’s very competitive when it comes to multiple user licences, potentially saving you considerable cash over time.
SignNow is also nicely geared towards collaborative use. You can create teams within the software, to securely share and collaborate on documents with stakeholders and colleagues. The software also makes it simple to keep your team members up to date with instant notifications. Tracking the status of your documents is straightforward. And there’s 24/7 support, should you run into difficulties.
Every business and freelancer’s workflow and cashflow is different. And so maybe you don’t want to commit to a monthly subscription. In which case, Esignatures.io is the best e-signature software for your needs, as you literally just pay for what you use.
We’ll be honest: if you just want to send one-off documents to one-off people, this isn’t the best choice. However, if you send out batches of contracts to be signed at once, it’s perfect; especially if you do so on a fairly random basis.
Handy options include creating bespoke contracts from templates, uploading Excel spreadsheets of recipients, and bulk sending to multiple people. Other features include sending contracts directly to mobiles via SMS, connecting with thousands of apps like Salesforce and Dropbox via Zapier, and using placeholders to highlight the text you’d like to replace in new contracts.
KeepSolid is a company specialising in security and encryption. So you’d expect their e-signature software to be pretty darn secure, and you’d be right. With its advanced peer-to-peer architecture, all the data stored and transmitted within the app is protected by high-grade AES-256 encryption, and can only be decrypted by an authorized recipient’s device. In other words, no third party would be able to read your files, even if they did fall into the wrong hands.
In broader terms, this is excellent e-signature software too. The template system enables you to create documents for sending out quickly and easily. Strong annotation, collaboration and tracking tools make it easy for colleagues and stakeholders to work together on documents. And the fact that the service is priced per team rather than per user could save you a lot of money if you’re seeking multiple licences.