As the business world becomes even more digital and remote-first, using an electronic signature solution is more useful than ever.
Signing documents from anywhere in the world – whether you’re at your desk or under the shade of a palm tree – will help you seal deals, contracts, and approvals faster than ever. On the other hand, being able to request an electronic signature from collaborators near and far is the best way to avoid delays related to hard-copy paperwork.
There’s no denying that DocuSign is a powerful contract management platform. It has a vast array of features that help users organize, automate, and streamline their document processes. It also has multiple tabs, dashboards, and sub-pages that help users keep track of all of their documents. However, in many cases, the software is more complex than the average user will ever need.
If you’re looking for an equally powerful DocuSign alternative that’s lighter on its feet, here are a few of our top electronic signature solution picks.
No matter which eSignature provider you end up choosing, there are certain non-negotiable boxes it should check. If you’re going to get on board with an eSigning software, it should…
1. Be incredibly simple to add a signature to your document. This one might seem obvious, but some softwares are more complicated than others. If you’re an individual who prefers keeping things simple or a business with less tech-savvy employees (larger companies’ teams are very likely to have a wide range of comfort levels with technology). The more intuitive, the better.
2. Be easy for collaborators to sign a document when they receive an eSignature request. Many softwares will allow signers to follow an embedded email link and drop them directly into the signing platform – no need to create an account, log in, or worse, provide their credit card information!
3. Offer a free trial that lasts long enough for you to truly get to know the platform. Onboarding a new software requires you to commit time, energy, and money, so you should be 100% sure that you’ve made the right choice when you decide to take the plunge. Since there are so many competitors in the electronic signature space, the best way to do so is to explore different interfaces with a free trial.
4. Produce a legally binding audit trail that ties the signer’s email address, device IP address, signature timestamp, and document “fingerprint” for all parties involved to a given file. An audit trail can serve as a type of document ownership certificate and serve as legal evidence in a court of law. Thanks to legislation like the ESIGN Act (US) and eIDAS (EU), you can create legally binding signatures using compliant eSigning platforms.
5. Accept a wide variety of document formats. Whether you need to sign a PDF document, Word file, or even a Google Doc or Google Sheet, your chosen signing platform should be able to handle whatever you throw its way.
One of the key advantages of switching to eSignatures is just how mobile they allow you to be. You can sign documents from anywhere, and request signatures from collaborators in the same office as you or halfway around the world. Contrary to many other eSigning softwares, Signeasy was actually built for mobile: its high-performance app for smartphone and tablet is one of its key benefits, whereas many other platforms struggle to deliver a simple and intuitive experience on a mobile device.
This DocuSign alternative is also designed specifically for SMBs, serving up lots of handy features (in-person signing, progress tracking, one-click reminders, document templates, etc.) without the bloat or bulk. It’s best known for its ease of use and intuitive interface, topped off with white-glove customer care whenever you need a hand.
Free plan: None, but there is a 14-day free trial
Paid plan: Starting at $15USD for unlimited document signing
For those who live their lives in the cloud, this platform is a great DocuSign competitor. Outfitted with a very simple interface that provides a few key options once you land on the home screen (sign, send for signature, or create a template), HelloSign integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote, and OneDrive.
So, if you want to sign a document from any one of these cloud storage platforms, all you need to do is click “Sign or Send” then choose the integration you’re looking for. At that point, you’ll be able to pull a file directly from the cloud. Once a collaborator sends a signed document back your way, it’s just as easy to save it to your digital storage.
Free plan: single user can sign three documents per month on a free plan
Paid plan: Starting at $15USD
Of course, if you’re a PC user, you can go ahead and skip this section. However, if you have a Mac computer and don’t need any fanfare with your electronic signatures, the Preview app is a great no-frills solution. This simple DocuSign alternative allows you to create your own signature via the “Tools” menu: simply navigate to “Annotate,” then “Signature,” then “Manage Signature,” and you’ll find the “Create Signature” option. Drop your signature onto the page, save it, and send it off via email.
When we say no bells and whistles, we mean it: Preview doesn’t offer any document management or tracking features. There’s no dashboard, no option to send a reminder, nowhere to view your pending documents. You’ll still need to send files for signature via email and keep tabs accordingly – but you really won’t find a simpler solution than this one.
Free plan: Comes pre-installed on Mac devices at no charge
If you’re a PC user who felt a pang of jealousy about Preview, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC is your best bet. It’s free to download, and while it’s not as starkly minimalist as Preview, it certainly won’t overcomplicate your life.
You can quickly create an eSignature using this electronic signature tool, then pop it into your digital document and send it off via email (again – very comparable to Preview).
Free plan: Completely free to download
Collecting payments is a core part of doing business, and if you’re reading this article, you’re at least a little curious about streamlining your workflows. What makes PandaDoc unique compared to most other DocuSign alternatives is its ability to integrate payment processing into the eSignature request flow: thanks to Stripe, Paypal, and other partners, you can collect a client’s credit card information at the same time as their electronic signature.
So, in the case of a contract signing request, you can collect a deposit (or payment in full) as soon as the agreement is inked. While this feature is available if you’re a free user, you will need an account with one of PandaDoc’s payment providers before you can use it, which takes a bit of brainpower to set up.
Free plan: Yes, you can sign as many documents and collect as many payments as you like
Paid plan: Starting at $19USD if you also want to have analytics, templates, 24/7 customer support, and more
Ultimately, the eSignature solution that fits you best will boil down to price, features, and above all, personal preference. That’s why we recommended kicking off a few free user trials and experiencing what they can do firsthand.Enjoy unlimited document signing for 14 days starting right now when you register for Signeasy’s free trial! See for yourself why individuals and SMBs love how easy we are to use, and explore our array of integration partners to further simplify your workflows (think Google, Microsoft, Zapier, and more).