Best Electronic Signature Software

PandaDoc is easy to use and wins our top spot

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Electronic signature software helps you and online collaborators come together to sign a document digitally. Whether you need to occasionally sign a PDF yourself or require a robust solution that allows your customers or clients to sign electronically, there’s likely a solution perfect for your needs.

The best electronic signature platforms automate and simplify your signature processes, all while providing better customer experience and document management. While reviewing, we focused on important features like ease-of-use, platforms supported, types of documents supported, security, and pricing that affect the overall quality of a platform. Keep reading to learn more about the best electronic signature software so you can quickly get your documents signed and get back to business.

The Best Electronic Signature Software for 2021

Best Overall : PandaDoc


PandaDoc

PandaDoc 

PandaDoc wins for best overall because it offers a wide range of features with a user-friendly interface and reasonable pricing, including a free plan that can work for varying personal and business signature needs.

Pros
  • The free version includes unlimited signatures and payment collection

  • Upgraded versions include templates, integrations, and advanced pricing

  • Strong security and robust features to meet most signature-related needs

Cons
  • Templates and integrations require a paid membership

  • The lowest cost paid plan starts at $19 per month when billed annually

PandaDoc is a good choice for signatures, whether you need a single signature for a one-off contract or regularly need to have documents signed for your business. It offers a little something for everyone and is very easy to use. For those reasons, it clinches our top spot for electronic signature software.

The free plan could easily meet your demands if you have fairly basic signature needs. The lowest cost plan adds an audit trail, template, and rich media with a drag-and-drop editor for $19 per month per user on an annual plan. The higher-cost business plan is $49 per month per user and includes custom branding, approval workflows, CRM and Zapier integrations, and other helpful features. Some specific tools, like forms, bulk sending, and Salesforce integration, may require an extra fee.

PandaDoc helps you create or upload documents for signature quickly and makes it very easy for your customers to sign. Automated workflows push the process along when certain signatures are dependent on someone else. If you want to customize your sales documents with designer templates or CRM integration to align more with your brand and better your customer’s experience, it’s possible. But it’s also easy to just get simple signatures once in a while when you need them. Altogether, PandaDoc is a good choice for most signature needs.

Best Value : eSignatures.io


eSignatures.io

eSignatures.io

We picked eSignatures.io because it is a lightweight signature tool for fast signatures with a flat cost of $0.49 per sent contract.

Pros
  • Predictable pricing of $0.49 per contact sent (discounts for nonprofits)

  • No add-on costs or fees and most services are included

  • Speedy signing process for sent contracts

Cons
  • No subscription option for unlimited signatures

  • Fewer features than some competing apps

ESignatures.io isn’t as well-known of a name as some larger competitors. Still, the pay-per-contract pricing of only $0.49 each makes it highly desirable for some businesses, particularly those with a lower volume of signatures that require features included with some expensive subscriptions to other signature platforms.

There is no monthly fee or any subscription required. This low rate comes with nearly everything eSignatures.io has to offer to make document and workflow management a breeze. That includes SMS-based contracts, bulk sending, embedding, white-labeling, audit trail, and integrations with many sales and customer platforms. Even more, custom branding and template options can tailor your documents to your company’s style, helping you stand out to your customers.  

For a pay-as-you-go signature app, this one has plenty of useful features and a good price. If you send less than 20 signatures documents per month, you could save a bundle by choosing this solution.

Best Free Option : Preview for macOS


Preview for macOS

Preview for macOS

We picked Preview as the best free option because it is already built into all modern Mac computers and enables you to drop a signature into nearly any document quickly.

Pros
  • A free app built into macOS

  • Save multiple signatures to paste into PDFs and other files

  • You may already have it installed

Cons
  • Not available for Windows

  • It doesn’t support all file types

  • Not cloud-based for multiple signers

Preview is built into macOS as a free, included feature. If you use a Mac laptop or desktop and ever click on PDF files or images, there’s a good chance you’ve used Preview and were just a couple of clicks away from adding a signature.

With Preview for the macOS app, you can create and save your signature or initials to your computer. The easiest way to do this may be to sign a piece of paper and use your computer to take a picture. You can also use the screen on an iOS device to save your signature. Once it’s saved, you can click on the Markup Toolbar button or Sign button to add it to a PDF.

Preview also gives you the option to combine multiple PDFs and rearrange the pages. You can password-protect sensitive documents so unwanted eyes can’t intercept and read the file. While it doesn’t work for everything and is not compatible with any operating systems other than macOS, Preview is simple to use and you can’t beat the price.

Best for Freelancers : HelloSign


HelloSign

HelloSign

We chose HelloSign as best for freelancers because it offers powerful features in its essential plan and is perfect for a solo business owner at a reasonable cost.

Pros
  • Prepare professional documents with signer fields and unlimited requests

  • Flat rate of $15 per month for a single user when billed annually

  • The upgraded version includes custom branding, bulk sending, and enhanced reporting

Cons
  • No free version available

  • The standard plan starts with two users

  • Highest cost plan required for Salesforce app integration

HelloSign is an online signature software that comes from Dropbox, the popular file storage and sharing platform. While it offers plenty of fancy features for bigger companies willing to pay more, freelancers and solopreneurs looking for a comprehensive service at a reasonable price may find HelloSign’s Essentials plan covers their unique business needs.

With Essentials, you can save five templates, send reminders and notifications, set signer fields, validate signature data, integrate cloud storage, and submit an unlimited amount of signature requests. There are also additional security features, like two-factor authentication and tamper-proof documents. For just one person, the cost is $15 per month when billed annually. The next plan includes two users for $25 each per month when billed annually and gives you custom branding, bulk sending, and more integrations. You can try it for free for 30 days before paying.

Serious users with technical skills may want to tap into the HelloSign API to integrate electronic signatures onto their websites or apps, but most freelancers probably won’t need that kind of integration. It includes enterprise-grade security and compliance tools that work for just about any profession or need.

Best for Small Businesses : Adobe Acrobat Pro / Adobe Sign


Adobe

Adobe

We like Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Sign for small businesses because Adobe Acrobat Pro includes many features businesses may already need, including advanced options to sign documents on your own computers or have documents signed online.

Pros
  • Popular business software includes the ability to sign and edit documents

  • Go beyond signatures with full PDF editing features

  • Options to launch your form to the web for e-signatures and payments

Cons
  • Expensive software may be price-prohibitive

  • Not a native web-based signature solution

Adobe Acrobat is a software used to read PDF files for free. Users with larger needs can upgrade to Adobe Acrobat Pro, which includes the features you need to add a signature to a document. Also, you can send your PDF to the web for signature and payment when you sign up for an Adobe Sign subscription.

Acrobat Pro is a signature-based software. The Windows-only version costs $12.99 per month, and the Windows/Mac version costs $14.99 per month. Additional signature features powered by Adobe Sign cost $9.99 to $19.99 per month, depending on your specific online signature needs. These can range from anything as simple as creating PDFs and signing documents to as complicated as website integrations and customized branding. 

Using Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can add signatures from your team members without the Adobe Sign subscription. When you add Adobe Sign, anyone on your team, or anywhere else, can join together to sign a document securely with options for customer branding, website-based signing, and other useful features.

Best for Contract Management : DocuSign


DocuSign

 DocuSign

We like DocuSign’s industry-leading solution with strong support for secure, cloud-based contract signatures and storage.

Pros
  • One of the first major providers of online signature solutions

  • Strong cloud support with DocuSign Agreement Cloud

  • eSignature plans start at $10 per month

Cons
  • Subscription required for use after a free trial

  • More expensive subscription required for all features

  • Paid product add-ons required for most robust needs

DocuSign is a 900-pound gorilla of the online signature industry with a long reputation for helping people sign online. If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you could be familiar with DocuSign already. For businesses with many important contracts, DocuSign stands out as a good choice for secure signing and storage.

The basic account costs $10 per user per month when billed annually. That includes five signatures per month, basic fields, and use of the mobile app. If you want more, you’ll have to pay more. The Standard Plan comes with reminders and notifications, comments, and customized branding in addition to the basics for $25 per month per user, while the Business Pro plan offers payments, signer attachments, and bulk send for $40. There are a lot of a la carte products to pay for in addition to the upgraded Standard and Business Pro plans, like website or app integrations, identification and authentication, embedded signing, and more. 

DocuSign’s Agreement Cloud is a solution that helps you automate and improve how you manage your signature and contract process and makes it a strong contender in this category. Additional products include a collaborative platform for contracts and negotiations, document analytics, identity verification, notary, activity tracking, and lots of integrations. It’s not the cheapest solution, but it covers even the most advanced and complex signature needs your business can throw at it.

Best for Payment Collection : signNow


signNow

signNow

SignNow makes it easy to take payments with contract signatures and payments to your favorite payment processor with no code required.

Pros
  • Get paid online as your customer signs a document

  • Supports industry PCI payment standards for secure card payments

  • Connect to your preferred payment processor with no code required

Cons
  • Starts at $30 per user per month after a free trial if you want to use payments features

  • More expensive than some competitors

SignNow handles everything you would expect from a signature app but goes a step further with a powerful and easy-to-use payment system powered by airSlate (part of the same company). SignNow starts at $8 per month for its own basic plan, which includes document signing, unlimited templates, basic fields, and their mobile app. Adding on airSlate for payments starts at $30 per month. SignNow’s $30 per user per month Enterprise plan includes payment requests while the other plans require the upgrade.

But for businesses that need to take a lot of payments with online signatures, that cost could be worthwhile. AirSlate makes it very easy to connect to payment systems like Stripe with an online PDF editor, drag-and-drop form builder, and workflow automation.

The signNow and airSlate solutions handle what you would likely need several apps to otherwise cover. It is PCI compliant for card payments and gives you the essential tools to get money in the bank when sending out signature forms and contracts.

Final Verdict

Depending on your needs, you may find a quick and free electronic signature solution that captures the details you need. As your requirements grow, you may have to upgrade to a complete solution like PandaDoc, DocuSign, or signNow. In either case, it’s important to choose a secure solution that you and your clients can trust to do the job every time without breaking the bank.

Compare the Best Electronic Signature Software

Software Cost System Compatibility Integrations Collect Payments? Feature Highlight
PandaDoc
Best Overall
Free iOS, Windows, Android, and web CRM, Zapier, and Salesforce with higher payment tiers Yes Yes, with Enterprise payment tier
eSignatures.io
Best Value
$0.49 per contract Web Zapier, Integromat, and API No Extremely fast signatures
Preview for macOS
Best Free Option
Free Mac None No  Built into mac computers
HelloSign
Best for Freelancers
Free  iOS, Windows, Android and web GSuite, Dropbox, Zapier, and more. Salesforce included with Standard payment tier No  Cost-effective for one user that needs regular contracts signed
Adobe Acrobat Pro / Adobe Sign
Best for Small Businesses
$12.99 per month Mac and Windows Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, and multiple CRM, CLM, and HR integrations included with Adobe Sign Yes, with Acrobat Pro DC with advanced e-sign payment tier Robust solution for PDF document editing
DocuSign
Best for Contract Management
$10 per month iOS, Windows, Android, and web Salesforce and other CRM platforms included at additional costs Yes, with Business Pro payment tier A feature-filled app that can handle nearly any signature need, for a cost
signNow
Best for Payment Collection
$8 per month iOS, Windows, Android, and web Salesforce and other CRM/ERP platforms included with airSlate Business Cloud Yes, with Enterprise payment tier Optional product to easily accept secure payments with your own processor

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Electronic Signature Software Work?

Electronic signature software allows users to put their signatures on a digital document. Cloud-based solutions allow multiple people to sign from different locations while desktop-based solutions allow you to edit and sign documents on your own laptop, computer, or mobile device.

Many include strong security features that record the signer’s location and computer information to ensure they were the true signer. 

When Can I Use Electronic Signature Software?

You can use electronic signature software for virtually any signature needed today. Outside of the rate contract, a legal document that standardizes the costs of goods between parties and requires a wet ink signature, you can use the web to edit and sign most contracts and documents.

If a form, document, or agreement requires some kind of signature, odds are there’s an electronic signature software option that can handle it.

Are Electronic Signatures Safe to Use?

Electronic signatures are completely safe to use. The apps here all take security seriously and allow you and your collaborators to sign worry-free.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use regular online security precautions like strong, unique passwords for your electronic signature program logins.

What Is the Difference Between an Electronic Signature and Digital Signature?

An electronic signature is a term for a handwritten signature, or something similar, that represents your intent to sign a document. The terms may be used interchangeably, but digital signature typically refers to a type of authentication that keeps, secures, and verifies digital documents and resources.

How We Chose the Best Electronic Signature Software

To choose the best electronic signature software, we looked at 22 providers of electronic signature solutions. We focused on security, ease of use, pricing, features, and integrations. In choosing winners for each category, we picked top providers that meet general signature needs in addition to the specialized features of each category.