PandaDoc Blog

The top 6 ways to create an electronic signature online

Productivity 5 min read

The top 6 ways to create an electronic signature online

Does your staff e-sign documents within your current software programs, like Google Drive or Microsoft Word?

Businesses that create an electronic signature experience an “83% performance improvement in getting approvals and an 86% savings in document costs.”

According to the Electronic Signature & Records Association

However, your current document signing software may not support your growing company. A lack of integration and features causes headaches for your sales reps and customers. Plus, the most common way of eSigning documents involves snapping a picture of your signature, which poses a security risk.

Discover how these 6 programs handle eSignatures, then decide if your current method provides a seamless and secure customer experience. 

1. CreateMySignature

CreateMySignature is an easy-to-use tool that works on your cell phone, tablet, and desktop. As a cloud-based system, you won’t need to worry about downloading or installing anything. Instead, use any device to draw your signature and save it as a .png file. This two-step process is convenient and fast.

Once you’ve saved your electronic signature, then insert the image into any document that allows you to embed an image. Or, you can upload your PDF right on the website and quickly add your signature. Plus, you can rest assured that your information is protected as CreateMySignature provides 256-bit SSL encryption for secure file transfers.

However, CreateMySignature doesn’t store your signature for future use or work with any documents that don’t allow an embedded image. Companies with complicated legal documents benefit from upgrading to electronic signature software that provides more features.

Pricing: Free

For what company sizes: Small to medium-size businesses

Time to create one signature: Less than a minute

Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux, mobile

Ease-of-use: 5

Functionality: 3

2. Google Drive

If your sales team works with Google Drive, then it’s essential to have access to an eSignature tool. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer an integrated program. Instead, to eSign a document, you’ll use the drawing function within your text. Once you save and close the image, then it’s automatically inserted into your document. You may also upload your image file for use in Google Drive.

Using the electronic signature function within Google Drive is relatively quick yet not beneficial for larger organizations that need more features. Luckily, many electronic signature software programs, like PandaDoc, integrate with Google for a smooth eSigning process.

Pricing: Free within Google

For what company sizes: Small to medium-size companies

Time to create one signature: Less than three minutes

Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux, mobile

Ease-of-use: 3.5

Functionality: 3

3. Microsoft Word in Office 365

For organizations that use Microsoft Word in Office 365, you’ll have to jump through a couple of hoops to create your electronic signature. Like other word processing software, Microsoft Word doesn’t offer a dedicated eSignature program. Instead, you’ll create an image with your signature and upload it to the document.

While it’s nice to have the option of eSigning a document in Word, professionals who go this route find it complicated when you have multiple contracts or signers. As a company grows, many turn to dedicated electronic signature service providers for added value.

Pricing: Free with a Microsoft subscription plan

For what company sizes: Small to medium-size businesses

Time to create one signature: Less than five minutes

Operating system: Windows 10 SAC, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Mac OS (current three versions only)

Ease-of-use: 3

Functionality: 3

4. Preview on Mac

Whether you use your trackpad or your camera function, creating an eSignature involves four steps with Preview on Mac. Mac-users appreciate the synchronization between devices, so once you register a signature, then you can use it on your iPad as well. You can also create and save multiple electronic signatures such as a full name version and initials for forms on your Preview on Mac list.

However, Preview on Mac won’t work on all file types. To use this function, the document must open in Preview on Mac. Also, some users complain of issues with their camera working correctly along with concerns about image quality. If your company requires signatures on legal or complicated documents, then you’ll quickly outgrow this feature in Mac.

Pricing: Free with Mac software

For what company sizes: Small to medium-size companies

Time to create one signature: Less than five minutes

Operating system: Mac OS Lion or later

Ease-of-use: 4

Functionality: 3

5. Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat provides a convenient way to both sign and send documents for eSigning with their built-in tool called Adobe Sign. This application works on any device, from desktops to smartphones so that you can add an eSignature on-the-go. Adobe Acrobat also stores all documents on their secure cloud, adds tracking capabilities, and email notifications.

While this eSignature tool works great if you use Adobe, it does have its limitations. For example, after your free trial ends, you’ll pay $12.99 a month for Windows-based computers or $14.99 a month if you use a Mac. Mobile options may require additional fees. All options require an annual commitment. If you use other formats than PDFs, then you may face compatibility issues.

Pricing: Starts at $12.99 per month plus software purchase

For what company sizes: Small to large-size businesses

Time to create one signature: Less than two minutes

Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux, mobile

Ease-of-use: 4

Functionality: 4

6. PandaDoc API

PandaDoc offers an all-in-one solution for enterprise-level businesses. Creating an electronic signature is simple with their API integrations. You’ll be able to quickly upload and sign a variety of documents, develop automated workflows, and pivot between multiple programs.

The PandaDoc API keeps your team on the same page regardless of which type of word processing software they use. A free trial offer lets you see for yourself how this tool saves you time and protects your professional image. Plus, all PandaDoc eSignatures are UETA and Federal ESIGN Act compliant with 256-bit SSL security.

While you’ll spend a bit more compared to the versions above, PandaDoc is built for enterprises that handle hundreds of digital documents each month. From sensitive legal documents to data-heavy PDFs, this tool enables companies to scale their business and maintain a positive brand image.

Pricing: Starts at $375 a month

For what company sizes: Enterprise

Time to create one signature: Less than two minutes

Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux, mobile

Ease-of-use: 5

Functionality: 5

Create an electronic signature with ease

Today’s digital clients demand online solutions. Unfortunately, not every tool delivers a seamless experience for customers. Review how your enterprise handles the eSignature process, then determine if a document signing app improves your operations and ROI. The top applications provide customers with a sense of security while ensuring a convenient experience.

Disclaimer

Parties other than PandaDoc may provide products, services, recommendations, or views on PandaDoc’s site (“Third Party Materials”). PandaDoc is not responsible for examining or evaluating such Third Party Materials, and does not provide any warranties relating to the Third Party Materials. Links to such Third Party Materials are for your convenience and does not constitute an endorsement of such Third Party Materials.

Eugene Zaremba

Eugene Zaremba Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc

Eugene works at PandaDoc as the Director of Demand Generation. He is an avid fisherman, taking nearly 20 fishing trips every year.

Related articles

Comments

What is PandaDoc?

Proposals

Quickly create, send, track, and eSign client-facing proposals designed to win more business with PandaDoc Proposals.

Read more
eSignatures

Forget about printing and scanning. Automate the document signing process with legally-binding PandaDoc eSignatures.

Read more
PandaDoc API

An easy and affordable solution for building documents, forms, and electronic signing right into your own application or website.

Read more