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Top eSignature software that offer a free trial or permanent free plan

Top eSignature software that offer a free trial or permanent free plan

Securing a legally binding signature is a vital part of doing business. Contracts, payroll, and a variety of other official documents need a signature to be considered valid.

In today’s world, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to print and mail physical copies of whatever document needs to be signed. You’d have to wait days for your document to come back with a signature, not to mention the monetary and environmental costs.

That’s why more and more businesses over the last few years have adopted free electronic signature software. It’s easy to use, fast and creates documents as official as those with a physical signature. Between 2012 and 2017, eSignature transactions went from 89 million to 754 million.

If you’re here, you’re probably looking for the right eSignature program for your business. And we’re here to take the guesswork out of it for you.

The 9 best free eSignature options

The benefits of eSignature technology are clear, but for a company just starting or unfamiliar with the technology, it can be hard to justify the cost of paid software. Is it worth an extra monthly expense? Is continuing to print, sign, scan, and email documents back cheaper in the long run?

Here we’ll look at the top nine eSignature programs that offer a free trial or permanent free plan, so you can take them for a spin before going all-in.

1. DocuSign

Docusign_free_plan

Cost: Free for 30 days, then choose from DocuSign’s Personal, Standard, and Business Pro plans. Plans range in price from $10 to $40 per user, per month.

Ease of Use: 4.5/5

Functionality: 4.5/5

Support Options: Product knowledge base, community forums online training, online chat

Platform Availability: Browser-based, available across all platforms

Description: DocuSign is a cloud-based eSignature program designed to help organizations of any size in just about any industry. Users can sign documents ranging from permission slips to NDAs electronically

While most of the software on this list has a free plan option, DocuSign does not. You can choose to try any of the plans for 30 days, but none are permanently free. Each plan has varying levels of document management capabilities.

The Personal plan is the cheapest at $10 per month. Services are similar to some of the free plans on the list from comparable software, though you do get a bit more for the money, including:

  • Single user access
  • Five documents a month
  • Basic form fields
  • Reusable templates
  • Basic workflow options
  • Audit trail features
  • Google Drive and Dropbox integrations
  • Translation to multiple languages

Standard users get access to everything in the Personal plan, plus: 

  • Up to 5 users
  • Unlimited documents per month
  • Reminders and notifications
  • Personalized branding
  • Ability to leave comments

Business Pro users have access to everything in the Standard plan, plus: 

  • Ability to collect payments with eSignatures in just one step
  • Advanced form fields with the ability to program conditions
  • Signer attachments
  • Bulk sending
  • PowerForms that let you post a form on your website (API functionality)
  • Collaborative fields
  • In-person signatures
  • Advanced authentication features

You can add tags to show where a document should be signed, making it easier for recipients. You can also track the status of documents to be signed on your DocuSign dashboard.

Pre-built templates and branding are available with every plan level, as are real-time audit trails. The free trial lets you send as many documents as you want as well as access stored documents from DocuSign’s library.

2. HelloSign

HelloSign_free_esignature_plan

Cost: HelloSign has a free plan with no expiration date and 30-day free trials of its Pro and Business plans. After the trial, Pro and Business plans cost $13 and $40 per month, per user, billed annually.

Ease of Use: 4.6/5

Functionality: 4.6/5

Support Options: Email forms, online knowledge base, video library, forums, live chat

Platform Availability: Android, iOS, web

Description: HelloSign is a cloud-based eSignature app similar to DocuSign. It’s highly ranked and was one of the top 20 digital signature software programs in 2019. It offers a free introductory plan with no expiration date and a free trial on their Pro and Business plans. 

The free plan is limited, but it’s enough to decide whether to use this software for your business in the long run. It allows for one user to send three document requests per month. Free users also get Google Drive integration, status notifications, and an audit trail feature. Free users don’t, however, have access to any of HelloSign’s templates. 

The 30-day free trial options of Pro and Business provide access to all the features of whichever plan you sign up for. Pro users get access to all the features in the free plan, plus:

  • Unlimited documents sent monthly
  • Data validation
  • Use of one template

Business users get all the features in Pro, plus:

  • Up to 5 senders
  • Personal branding
  • In-person signing
  • Signer access codes
  • Team transaction overviews

At the end of the 30-day trial for these plans, you’ll get charged their monthly rate unless you cancel. It might be best to run a free trial of the Business plan to explore all possible features before you decide to commit. 

3. eversign

Eversign_lite_free_pricing_plan

Cost: As with HelloSign, eversign has a permanent free plan with limited features. There are three higher plans after that: Basic, Professional, and Professional Plus. They run $9.99, $39.99, and $79.99 per month respectively.

Ease of Use: 5/5

Functionality: 5/5

Support Options: Live chat, online knowledgebase (help center), FAQ, email contact form

Platform Availability: Web-based and available across platforms

Description: eversign’s free plan is a barebones version best suited for small business owners or those just trying out an eSignature program. Free users can send five documents per month

Free users don’t have access to any of eversign’s templates. However they can send three API documents per month, a feature HelloSign’s free plan doesn’t offer. In the world of eSignature software, APIs are often used to encode an access key into a sensitive document or embed a form on a website.

Free trial users can send unlimited documents per month and have access to self-signing, document storage, and document security features. Users can schedule documents to “auto-expire,” export them to a secure location or drive or remove them from eversign altogether. eversign also lets you make edits to PDF documents you upload to prepare them for signature.

eversign doesn’t offer a free trial for higher-paid plans, which isn’t apparent until you reach the end of the signup process. Should you decide to upgrade to higher plans, you’ll get access to different features. 

Personal plan users get: 

  • Unlimited documents
  • 3 templates
  • 10 API documents
  • 1 team member
  • App integrations
  • Premium support

Professional plan users get all that, plus:

  • 10 templates
  • 25 API documents
  • 5 team members
  • In-person signing

If you sign up for the Professional Plus plan, you’ll get all the Professional features, plus: 

  • 25 templates
  • 50 API documents
  • 15 team members
  • Custom branding

4. SignRequest

SignRequest_free_esignatures

Cost: Free, plus free trials of their Professional and Business plans. Professional and Business plans cost $7 and $12 per user, per month, respectively.

Ease of Use: 4.7/5

Functionality: 4.7/5

Support Options: Phone and email support, searchable help database function

Platform Availability: Web-based, works cross-platform

Description: SignRequest is the cheapest option on this list, making it worth considering for the budget-conscious. Their permanent free plan is also more generous than other offerings, letting users send ten documents per month. It includes Google integration, translation to 17 languages, and a secure audit trail feature.

14-day free trials are available for SignRequest’s other plans, and users get access to all the features within that level during the trial. Professional users get all the features in the free plan, plus: 

  • Use of the app by one team
  • Five template options
  • Custom branding.
  • Integration with Slack and Zapier
  • Email support
  • Ability to send reminders
  • Public signing links
  • Custom landing pages
  • Ability to determine the order of signing
  • Sender and signer attachments
  • Secure document storage
  • Ability to choose your authorization method
  • Document status notifications
  • Ability to send multiple documents at once

Business users get all that, plus: 

  • Use of the software by unlimited teams
  • Unlimited template options
  • SignRequest API access
  • Bulk sending options
  • Unlimited phone support
  • Ability to choose your sign-on method
  • Customizable options
  • Premium integration options like Formdesk and Topdesk

SignRequest gives you an impressive range of options to choose from. Just be aware that the trial period on this software is about half the length of the others on this list so far. Should you decide to sign up for paid service, SignRequest plants one tree for every paid license.

5. PandaDoc

PandaDoc_free_esign_plan

Cost: Free for the basic plan and a free trial period of Essentials and Business level plans. Essentials and Business levels cost $19 and $49 per user, per month respectively. 

Ease of Use: 5/5

Functionality: 5/5

Support Options: 24/7 live chat support, email support, product knowledge base

Platform Availability: Online, iOS, Android

Description: We couldn’t very well make this list without including our eSignature offering, as PandaDoc’s free plan is among the best out there. It offers users unlimited legally binding signatures and document uploads per month, lets them take payments, and allows access to unlimited users. 

14-day free trial periods are available for PandaDoc’s Essentials and Business plans. Both plans give users access to over 400 custom templates and document analytics. In addition to that, Essentials users get: 

  • PandaDoc’s rich media drag and drop editor
  • Pricing tables
  • Document analytics

If you decide to upgrade to the Business plan, you get all the features in the Essentials plan, plus: 

  • CRM integrations like HubSpot and Pipedrive
  • Access to PandaDoc’s content library
  • Custom branding
  • Approval workflows
  • Zapier integration

PandaDoc also secures confidential documents with 256-bit SSL encryption, performs regular security audits, and is compliant with GDPR. 

6. DigiSigner

Digisigner_free_pricing_plan

Cost: Free for the basic plan, plus a 14-day free trial of Pro and Team plans. Pro and Team plans cost $10 and $40 per user per month, respectively, when billed annually.

Ease of Use: 4.7/5

Functionality: 4.8/5

Support Options: Tutorials, online “Learning Center” knowledge base, phone and email support, live chat

Platform Availability: Web-based, works cross-platform

Description: DigiSigner’s cloud-based software is geared toward smaller businesses like real estate and human resources. Their free plan allows one user to send three documents per month. The documents can have multiple signers. Free plan users don’t have access to templates or custom branding, but the software functions well and is easy to use, so the free plan is good for a test drive. 

Free trial users of the Pro and Team plans get access to the entire suite of features for that plan for 14 days. The Pro plan includes everything in the free plan, plus: 

  • Template access
  • Custom branding
  • Signing links
  • Unlimited sending

Team users get everything in Pro, plus:

  • Up to 5 senders
  • Special team features

DigiSigner also has email notification capabilities to let you know when your document has been signed and lets you embed signatures directly into a website with API functionality. You can use your computer’s mouse to design your signature, or simply upload an image to use instead. 

7. DottedSign

Dottedsign_free_pricing_plan

Cost: Free for the basic plan, plus 14-day free trials of the Pro and Business plans. Pro and Business cost $4.99 and $9.49 per user, per month respectively.

Ease of Use: 4.6/5

Functionality: 4.6/5

Support Options: Online help center, knowledge base, email contact form

Platform Availability: Web-based, works cross-platform

Description: Another one of the cheaper options on our list, DottedSign’s Pro plan is just under $5 per user, per month. 

The free plan covers the basics, offering one user three “send tasks” per month and giving them access to:

  • Basic signing fields like initials, signature, and date
  • Use of the mobile app
  • Digital audit trails
  • Access to the DottedSign knowledge base

14-day free trials of the Pro and Business plans are also available and come with an expanded feature set. Pro allows one user all the features in the free plan, plus: 

  • One template
  • One attachment per signer
  • In-person signing
  • Advanced signing fields like checkboxes and the ability to make a field mandatory
  • Secure password
  • App lock
  • Priority customer support

Business plan users get access to everything in the Pro plan, plus:

  • 5 templates per user
  • Unlimited attachments
  • Personalized company branding
  • Access to the admin console

DottedSign’s strength appears to be its easy-to-use, intuitive UI, and strong mobile app presence. If you’re on the go and prefer to eSign on your mobile device, you’ll want to give this software a test drive. 

8. Docsketch

Docsketch_free_pricing_plan

Cost: Free for the basic plan, plus Personal and Business level plans. Personal and Business plans cost $8 and $24 per user per month (billed annually), respectively.

Ease of Use: 4.8/5

Functionality: 4.8/5

Support Options: Online knowledge base, email contact form

Platform Availability: Web-based, works cross-platform

Description: Docsketch works a little differently from the other software on this list in that it has no free trial options for the higher-level plans). Anyone with a Google account can easily sign up for the service in seconds, and when you do, you’re automatically enrolled in the free plan. 

Free plan users of Docsketch get access for one sender. That sender can use one template and send three documents a month. They also get reminders and notifications about the status of those documents. 

Personal plan features include: 

  • 5 templates
  • Unlimited documents
  • Reminders and notifications
  • Template links
  • Advanced preferences

Business plan users get access to all that, plus: 

  • 3 Senders included 
  • Unlimited templates
  • Custom branding
  • Redirect URLs
  • In-person signing

Docusketch is an intuitive, easy-to-use option for someone looking for a solid eSignature program covering the basics. Those interested in trying the software can start with the free plan and upgrade to a higher plan at any point to access more features. All plans higher than the free plan have unlimited document sending. 

9. eSignly

Esignly_free_pricing_plan

Cost: Free, plus 15-day free trial of Pro and Business plans. Pro and Business plans cost $12 and $18 per user per month, respectively. 

Ease of Use: 4.5/5

Functionality: 4.5/5

Support Options: 24/7 live chat support, FAQ page, online knowledge base, help phone/email, email contact form

Platform Availability: Web-based, works cross-platform

Description: eSignly’s free plan allows for three documents sent per month by a single user. It also gives users an audit trail for those documents, protects them with encryption, and provides email reminders for signed documents and those in progress.

Users can only upload PDFs, but higher plans allow conversion from any document format. It’s limited, but it does get the job done. Users can get access to try out higher-plan features via a 15-day free trial. 

Pro users get: 

  • Unlimited sending
  • Integrations
  • Five templates per month
  • Live signature email notifications

Business users get all that, plus: 

  • Personal questions and OTPs by email
  • 20 templates per month
  • Advanced signing request reporting

The feature set for the higher plan options is pretty robust, so if eSignature software is something you know you’ll be using a lot for your business, this one could be worth the upgrade. 

All the software options on this list offer customized enterprise pricing for larger businesses, so keep that in mind if you think you’ll need that down the line. 

Choosing the free plan that’s best for you

Users had good things to say about all these programs — that’s why they’re the best. Since there’s no risk to a free plan, we recommend trying a few and finding out which one works best for you. 

Test out your software of choice on desktop and mobile, especially if you know you’ll be on the go more often than not. Figuring out the right eSignature software might be the stepping stone you need to take your business to the next level of professionalism.

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.

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