Best E-Signature software: What is an e-signature?

E-signature, short for electronic signature, is a digital form of signing documents, offering a convenient and legally recognized way to execute agreements without the need for physical paperwork. The adoption of e-signatures has been significantly accelerated by the rise of remote work and digital transformation across industries. Here’s an overview of key aspects related to e-signatures:

How E-Signatures Work

E-signature solutions typically involve the following steps:

  1. Document Upload: A document is uploaded to an e-signature platform, often in PDF format.
  2. Signer Identification: The person required to sign the document is identified and notified, usually via email.
  3. Signature Placement: The signer uses the platform to apply their signature electronically. This can be done by typing their name, drawing their signature using a mouse or touchscreen, or uploading an image of their signature.
  4. Online Signature Generator: A free online signature generator or signature maker to create an eSignature. Type it or draw it, and sign documents securely.
  5. Authentication and Security: Many e-signature solutions offer features to authenticate the signer’s identity, such as email verification, SMS codes, or knowledge-based authentication. The signed document is encrypted and stored securely.
  6. Audit Trail: An audit trail is generated, detailing the signing process’s history, including timestamps and IP addresses, to ensure non-repudiation.

Legal Recognition

E-signatures are legally recognized in many jurisdictions around the world, thanks to laws and regulations such as the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and the European Union’s eIDAS regulation. These laws ensure that e-signatures carry the same legal weight as traditional handwritten signatures, provided certain criteria are met.


  • Convenience: Allows documents to be signed from anywhere, at any time, on various devices.
  • Efficiency: Reduces the time taken to execute agreements, from days or weeks to minutes or hours.
  • Cost Savings: Cuts down on the expenses related to printing, shipping, and storing physical documents.
  • Security: Often more secure than paper documents, offering encryption, traceability, and a detailed audit trail.
  • Environmental: Reduces the need for paper, contributing to sustainability efforts.

Use Cases

E-signatures are used across a wide range of industries and applications, including:

  • Legal Agreements: Contracts, NDAs, lease agreements.
  • Human Resources: Employment contracts, policy acknowledgments.
  • Financial Services: Account openings, loan documents.
  • Sales and Procurement: Purchase orders, sales agreements.
  • Government: Tax filings, benefit applications.

Choosing an E-Signature Provider

When selecting an e-signature solution, consider factors such as:

  • Legality and Compliance: Ensure it meets the legal requirements in your jurisdiction and industry.
  • Integration: Look for solutions that integrate with other tools you use.
  • User Experience: A straightforward, easy-to-use interface can increase adoption and reduce errors.
  • Security: Features like encryption, two-factor authentication, and compliance with standards like ISO 27001.
  • Cost: Evaluate the pricing structure to ensure it fits your budget and usage needs.

The right e-signature solution can streamline your workflows, enhance security, and contribute to a more sustainable business practice by reducing reliance on paper.

Top 6 e-signature software providers in 2024

  1. DeedSign: DeedSign is an easy-to-use, modern, and secure eSignature platform to simplify and automate document workflows for business functions. DeedSign offers a comprehensive suite of tools for automating the agreement process. Its platform is widely used across various industries for its ease of use, security, and integration capabilities.
  2. Adobe Sign: Part of the Adobe Document Cloud, Adobe Sign is known for its robust features, including e-signatures, PDF and document management, and integration with other Adobe products, making it a popular choice for professionals and businesses seeking a comprehensive document workflow solution.
  3. HelloSign (a Dropbox Company): HelloSign offers a user-friendly e-signature solution that integrates seamlessly with Dropbox, providing an efficient workflow for document signing and storage. Its simplicity and effective integration capabilities make it a favored option for small to medium-sized businesses.
  4. PandaDoc: PandaDoc is not just an e-signature tool but a comprehensive document automation software that includes e-signature functionality, document analytics, and the ability to create, send, and track documents. It’s designed for sales teams and businesses looking to streamline their document workflow.
  5. SignNow: SignNow is known for its affordability and straightforward interface, catering to both large enterprises and smaller businesses. It offers a range of features including e-signature, document management, and custom workflow creation.
  6. Zoho Sign: Part of the Zoho ecosystem, Zoho Sign integrates well with other Zoho applications and third-party software, offering e-signature capabilities within a broader suite of business tools. It’s appreciated for its cost-effectiveness and ease of use, particularly by small to medium-sized enterprises.

Each of these providers has its unique strengths, and the best choice depends on your specific needs, such as the level of integration required with other tools, the volume of documents to be processed, industry-specific requirements, and budget constraints. It’s also recommended to keep an eye on emerging technologies and providers, as the e-signature landscape is continuously evolving.