Four Top-Tier eSignature Solutions: Which Program Is Best to Use When Signing a PDF?

Pick the best program you can use for signing a PDF

In this article, we'll go over what we think the four best programs to use for signing PDFs are. This article exists to help answer a common question “I would like to sign a PDF, what program do I use?” and so that you can make the best decision when deciding on what program to use for your business.

In modern-day, the amount of electronic signature solutions on the market is astounding and can be quite stressful to sort through. There are dozens of electronic signature programs that you can use, and they are all certainly not the same. You may be flooded with questions like “What software lets you eSign a PDF?” and “What programs can eSign a PDF?”. Some have a tremendous amount of features, while others are very simplistic and niche-based. We went through and found the ones we think are the best in today’s market.

We had to go through a lot of pros and cons to find which ones we think are the best. After a lot of work and consideration, we narrowed it down to very specific criteria, which allows you to pick and choose which programs you think you would like the most. This criterion includes:

  • Price
  • Bulk sending
  • Cloud storage
  • Ease of use
  • Signing order

So without further ado, let us take a look at our number one choice for your eSignature needs and why you need a program that can do more than just simply sign a document.

1. signNow

Introducing our number one and primary solution, signNow. signNow in our humble opinion, covers all five of these features better and more thoroughly than the options currently on the market. It has been rated the best and easiest eSignature solution available today and has over a ninety percent satisfaction rating according to Software Advice. It was acquired by airSlate inc., in 2018 and has since then made a big name for itself. It’s known for having an incredibly simple user face on both PC and mobile devices and a user-friendly design that allows streamlined use through the usually tough eSignature workflows.

Put simply, signNow has blown the competition out of the water in every category and even in some areas that did not make it onto our list, such as customer support. It’s simply the best on the market and is still growing and adapting to how business is changing and moving. What's most impressive is that even as it adds more and more features it's still simple to use, and lightweight in integration and application.

Price

signNow is incredibly cheap for all the features and capabilities it has. It has two subscription types, there's the option of annual subscriptions and monthly subscriptions, with 4 tiers of service in each. The tiers are:

  • Business
    • Up to 10 senders
    • Send documents for signing
    • Basic fields
    • Mobile app
    • Unlimited templates
  • Business Premium
    • Up to 10 senders
    • Send documents for signing
    • Basic fields
    • Mobile app
    • Unlimited templates
    • Set reminders and notifications
    • Personalized branding
    • Send in bulk
    • Signing link invites
  • Enterprise 
    • Up to 10 senders
    • Send documents for signing
    • Basic fields
    • Mobile app
    • Unlimited templates
    • Set reminders and notifications
    • Personalized branding
    • Send in bulk
    • Signing link invites
    • Calculated fields
    • Conditional fields
    • Request payments
    • Signer attachments
  • Business Cloud 
    • Enterprise-grade eSignature
    • The most powerful PDF editor
    • Business process automation
    • US Legal Forms library
    • Phone support
    • Organizational dashboard
    • HIPAA compliance
    • Single sign-on (SSO)
    • CRM/ERP integration
    • Personal integration support

With the annual option, the prices are as follows:

  • Business: $8 per month
  • Business Premium: $15 per month
  • Enterprise: $30 per month
  • Business Cloud: $50 per month

Then there's the monthly option:

  • Business: $20 per month
  • Business Premium: $30 per month
  • Enterprise: $50 per month
  • Business Cloud: $50 per month

Each tier has added benefits the higher you go, but you can have an eSignature solution for your whole business for as little as twenty dollars a month, or as little as ninety six dollars a year, and honestly, no other solution can compare to that.

Bulk sending to everyone

Bulk sending is when you have many unrelated clients that each individually need to sign a contract. You fill out the template that you need to send to each of these people and then you have the option to email each of them their own copy to sign. Easy right?

You would think that this would be a simple process, but in many eSignature solutions it's not. Thankfully, in our primary solution signNow, it's very easy to utilize this helpful feature. So next, we would like to take a quick look at how simple it really is in signNow.

  1. Upload your document to signNow. Specify the fields you want the signers to fill out and then turn it into a template.
  2. Upload your bulk list (recipient contact information) of those who will be receiving said freshly made template to sign.
  3. From Bulk send, you send the template and each person on your list will receive their own copy of the template that they'll then fill out, and send back.

Bulk sending in signNow is literally just three steps, and that is worlds better than a lot of the efforts you'll have to put in on a lot of the other eSignature solutions.

All saved in the cloud

signNow offers cloud storage as well and it's quite a good one. The cloud storage that signNow offers is designed to be easy to use and keep all your documents nice, neat, and organized. Like many other cloud services, all your documents will be regularly backed up and secure in the case of any issues that may happen. What signNow does differently is that it's completely integratable with most other cloud services you may have so that you can keep all your documents secure and easy to access in one place.

Their cloud services are also secure. You can set up passwords for each member of your team so that you'll always know who enters the cloud and does what. Which is another great feature of the cloud; it has signNow’s built-in editor so that you and your team can edit saved documents without having to update then reupload your document. it's all done as a safe, secure, and reliable cloud service.

It is signNow easy

signNow is just so easy to use. We do not know how to emphasize that more to you guys. Everything in signNow is easy to do and learn. Most people are just able to simply look at the interface and figure it out for themselves! It’s such a user-friendly program that you can just do everything in ten or fewer steps, usually on the same page. We suggest you take a look and just see how easy it is, you'll not be disappointed.

Signing orders for all

Assigning signing orders in a document with multiple people in it is incredibly important. Without signing orders it would be impossible to have digital documents with multiple signers, thankfully it's an incredibly easy process to achieve in signNow. After you place a Signature Field element down you can simply click on it and go to the right side of the screen. There you'll find a Role option you can work with, and it is as easy as typing the name of the person who will be signing and dating in these spots. Once you do that for all the people you want to sign, only then can they fill in the fields assigned to them. When sending the document out, signNow will prompt you to put in an email for every signer you placed and they each will get a copy of the document they can sign, and the system will automatically send back an executed copy to you and each signer.

This is our number one solution concerning the best program to use to eSign a PDF. signNow is easy to use and boasts a lot of functionality for any business in any industry. Its streamlined process is very user friendly and intuitive to learn. However, hold on tight because we still need to go over 3 more key players in the eSignature arena.

2. SignEasy

SignEasy made it onto this list, because well it's easy. It found its way to the market in 2010 and has been a staple ever since. It has been most well known for being used by Apple in its “small business” section and was commonly installed on ipads for quick use. With this partnership it has had a lot of publicity and a lot of use to work out any kinks in the system it may have. It has also been featured on TNW, LifeHacker, Inc., Engadget, Forbes, Mashable. It’s not the best, however, it's not a bad solution by any means.

Price

SignEasy has like signNow has two types of subscriptions, monthly and annually, and it has three tiers in each. Not quite as cheap or as versatile as the the number one on our list but still viable

  • Plus
    • Send for signature
    • Sign yourself
    • In-person signing
    • 1 template
    • Unlimited document storage
    • Customer support (via email)
  • Professional
    • Send for signature
    • Sign yourself
    • In-person signing
    • 1 template
    • Unlimited document storage
    • Customer support (via Email)
    • Send multiple documents
    • Shareable template links
    • 3 templates
    • Integrations (G Suite, Office 365 and more)
    • Customer support (email and chat)
  • Premium
    • Send for signature
    • Sign yourself
    • In-person signing
    • Unlimited document storage
    • Send multiple documents
    • Shareable template links
    • Integrations (G Suite, Office 365 and more)
    • Unlimited templates
    • Template sharing across team
    • Centralized billing and dashboard
    • Custom company branding
    • Includes 3 users, additional at $20/user
    • Dedicated success manager
    • Customer support (email, chat and phone)

The annual pricing is as follows:

  • Plus: $149 a year
  • Professional: $199 a year
  • Premium: $799 a year

The monthly price is as follows:

  • Plus: $20 per month
  • Professional: $25 per month
  • Premium: $75 per month

Each tier has added benefits compared to the ones that come before them. The prices are not that bad compared to signNow either, however, they are still more expensive and the lack of features felt very underwhelming compared to signNow, and that is one of the reasons why this eSignature solution did not make it to the number one place on this list.

Bulk sending

This was one of the biggest drawbacks that we could find while using SignEasy. It does not have a bulk sending function! This is a problem for businesses with lots of customers that are required to sign documents, however, if this is not a problem for you, then the bulk sending feature is not an important feature for you to have.

Cloud storage

So SignEasy does not actually offer its own cloud storage option. What it does do is offer cloud storage integration. What this means is that you can use popular cloud storage services like G Suite and Office 365 intandem with SignEasy. So it may not offer its own cloud storage, but it does offer a cloud storage integration.

Ease of use

It’s in the name and it says it all, this is an incredibly easy software that allows you to digitally sign PDFs. It may lack in the features department, but it’s one of the easiest solutions we have ever had the opportunity to test. You can just hop right in a start sending documents for signature. It may actually be the easiest option in our list today only because of its lack of features preventing it from being a competitive player for businesses.

Signing order

The solution has a really nice set up in this department. All you have to do here is select the document you want to send by selecting request signature, entering the email, and then just add as many emails as you need to sign the document and after that, you can select a signing order and it's done. It’s not a bad way to get multiple signatures from recipients.

3. HelloSign

HelloSign started out as a part of its sister service HelloFax. HelloFax started with the idea of a paperless office and soon added a PDF signing function that soon split off into its own product in 2012, and thus HelloSign was born.

Price

HelloSign has like signNow has two types of subscriptions, monthly and annually, and it has Four tiers in each. It actually has a custom offer and a free version for those who need something quick, or something special.

  • Free
    • 3 Signature Requests per Month
    • 1# of Senders
    • 0# of Templates
    • Integrated with Google Drive
    • Status notifications
    • Audit Trail
  • Pro
    • UNLIMITED Signature Requests per Month
    • 1# of Senders
    • 5# of Templates
    • Integrated with Google Drive
    • Status notifications
    • Audit Trail
    • Data validation
  • Business
    • UNLIMITED Signature Requests per Month
    • 5# of Senders
    • 5# of Templates
    • Integrated with Google Drive
    • Status notifications
    • Audit Trail
    • Data validation
    • Branding
    • In-person signing
    • Signer access code
    • Team transaction overview
  • Enterprise
    • Includes all business features
    • Salesforce Integration
    • Oracle Content & Experience Cloud Integration
    • HIPAA and SOC 2
    • Single sign-in (SSO)
    • Advanced Admin Features
    • User Reporting
    • Advanced Features

The annual pricing is as follows:

  • Free: $0 a year
  • Pro: $180 a year
  • Business: $480 a year
  • Enterprise: custom price a year

The monthly pricing is as follows:

  • Free: $0 per month
  • Pro: $20 per month
  • Business: $50 per month
  • Enterprise: Custom price per month

The features may seem a bit restrictive but with the custom enterprise tier, HelloSign has some serious versatility. The one problem comes down to price. A custom feature is really nice to have, but it can get very expensive very quickly.

Bulk sending

Bulk sending with HelloSign is a real time saver. The bulk sending feature for HelloSign is called Bulk Request Sends and can send a list of single signer documents; up to 250 individual people. That is a lot of clients you can help at once, you'll not have to spend all day sending emails out with this solution.

Cloud storage

This eSignature solution’s cloud storage feature is a lot like signNow’s. It has both a storage of its own, and integrates with other popular cloud storage services. User passwords are also included in this feature so that you can keep track of who does what in the storage and restrict who can enter. So all in all, a very good cloud storage option that you could utilize.

Ease of use

Admittedly, HelloSign is a very simple program to use for eSigning a PDF. It’s set up to be that way, but it did sacrifice to get there. It’s lacking in a lot of features that other tools and solutions have, but that is also what makes it so easy to use. Not much to get in the way of figuring out how to send and receive your docs.

Signing order

Its signing order is quick and easy to use, it'll only take you a few moments of clicking around to figure it out. You Just need to find and click on the +signer button and follow the prompts to be able to make yourself a quick signer order list.

4. DocuSign

DocuSign is a giant in the eSignature market having come out in 2003. Having been out so long, it's no surprise of the staggering amount of sales this company has had claiming over 475,000 customers and hundreds of millions of users in more than 180 countries. This company has had a lot of time to figure out what works and what does not.

Price

Like the others on this list DocuSign has both an annual and a monthly payment option, and has four tiers of their services.

  • Personal
    • Single user only
    • Send documents for eSignature: 5/month
    • Basic fields
    • Mobile app
    • Reusable templates
    • Basic workflows
    • Real-time audit trail
    • Integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, and more
    • Multiple languages 
  • Standard.
    • Buy up to 5 users online
    • Send documents for eSignature
    • Basic fields
    • Mobile app
    • Reusable templates
    • Basic workflows
    • Real-time audit trail
    • Integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, and more
    • Multiple languages
    • Reminders & notifications
    • Personalized branding
    • Comments
  • Business Pro
    • Buy up to 5 users online 
    • Send documents for eSignature
    • Basic fields
    • Mobile app
    • Reusable templates
    • Basic workflows
    • Real-time audit trail
    • Integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, and more
    • Multiple languages
    • Reminders & notifications
    • Personalized branding
    • Comments
    • Collect Payments
    • Advanced fields
    • Signer attachments
    • Bulk Send
    • PowerForms
    • Collaborative fields
    • In-person signatures
    • Advanced Authentication
  • Advanced solutions
    • All of our Business Pro features, plus:
    • APIs
    • Integrations, connectors
    • Embedded signing
    • Advanced branding
    • Identification & authentication
    • SingleSign on (SSO)
    • Organization administration
    • Customizable usage limits
    • Industry modules
    • Enterprise level support
    • Other Products:
    • CLM
    • Negotiate
    • Gen
    • Click
    • Intelligent Insights
    • Guided forms

The annual pricing is as follows:

  • Personal: $120 a year
  • Standard: $300 a year
  • Business Pro: $480 a year
  • Advanced solutions: Custom price a year

The monthly pricing is as follows:

  • Personal: $15 per month
  • Standard: $40 per month
  • Business Pro: $60 per month
  • Advanced solutions: Custom price per month

They offer a decent amount at an alright price, so if you're  looking for something that has a long history and knows what it's doing then the odd restrictions on features may not be an issue for you.

Bulk sending

It’s no surprise that a company as old as DocuSign has a solid bulk sending feature in its repertoire. All that is needed to be done, is once you have edited your document, you create a .CSV file with all the contacts you need to sign, and send out your document. Everyone on the .CSV file will receive their copy of the document.

Cloud storage

DocuSign uses an integration system for cloud storage. They have a select few cloud storage providers that you can use:

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • OneDrive

All that you have to do is have one or more of these services and give DocuSign access. Once you have done that, that is it. DocuSign will treat those cloud storages as if it was part of its own system.

Ease of use

DocuSign is easy to use. It has been around a long time so it has been made for quick successive work, we did notice that it's unforgiving of mistakes. Once you submit that document there's no going back, you'll have to start over. On the plus side though, it's very very easy to administer.

Signing order

Setting a signing order is a bit odd, but once you learn how to do it it's very easy. You first have to enable signing orders in your quick setting. Once that is done you have the ability to select an option titled signing order. After that, well, just set up your order.

Take your pick of the four eSignature solutions you think works best for you and your business

We went through all the stress and effort in finding the four best eSignature solutions on the market for you. So answering the question, “I would like to eSign a PDF, what should I use?”, should be easy to answer. Though, Whatever solution you pick, it's all up to you. You can not go wrong with any of the companies we listed here in this article, it just depends on what you like the most and what you're  willing to pay for, for your company. So with all the stress work done for you take a look for yourselves and see what you like.

Remember, just because there are more features does not mean you're  getting your money's worth. Avoid overpaying for things you do not need, and focus on simplicity and streamlined workflows. That is why we recommend signNow, it's a good price and has every feature you and your company will need. So on that note, we recommend signNow so we might as well do a small how-to-sign section to show you how it works in action. Read on if you're  interested in how to sign a document in signNow.

Signing a PDF in signNow

I would like to sign a PDF. What program do I use?” is a question blowing up the internet right now. Millions of people all across the US, well, really all across the world, are wondering what software allows them to digitally or electronically sign PDFs.

So, in order to deliver the most comprehensive, the most beneficial review and comparison we can, we'll also give you a quick overview of how to initial and eSign a PDF in signNow from creating an account to sending a document out to recipients.

How to initial and eSign a PDF in signNow

Take a look at our step-by-step guide to uploading, editing, eSigning, and sharing any form or contact that you need signed by recipients. Those recipients can be individual signers or representatives from large companies you're  looking to do business with.

  1. Go to www.signNow.com and either sign in or register a new account if you do not already have one. (you can also make a free trial if you're  still on the fence).
  2. Upload a form, document, or PDF from whatever device you're  using by clicking on Upload Documents.
  3. Wait a bit, it'll take a moment for your file to upload onto your Homepage. Click on the document file’s name once you see that it has successfully appeared on your Homepage.
  4. Drag and drop the My Signature element onto your document (this is on the left-hand side tool panel) and drop it wherever you need to eSign the document. This is the stage where you'll sign the document.
  5. Self sign the document (if necessary). Generate your own signature by clicking on the element you just placed and typing, drawing, or uploading an image of your handwritten signature. Once you do this you'll notice that your initials will auto populate in the text bar next to your signature.
  6. Click Sign and drag the executed element by using the move button. You'll also notice that there are some orange lines when you move the My Signature element around. These lines are part of the signNow alignment function and are there to help make sure that you place the element where you want it to be. If you do not like where it ends up do not be afraid to move until it's just where you want it.
  7. Click on the Signature field on the left-hand tool panel and place the element wherever you need your client to eSign. You can place as many of these down as you need to for as many locations that you need your client to sign. This is also where you would make a signing order if you need to have more than one client sign the document. You simply place the element down, click on it, find the Role option on the right side of the screen and make a signing order from there.
  8. Click the Save and Close button to get back to your Homepage.
  9. Click on the More button next to your file’s name and then on Email a Copy.
  10. Add a recipient and/or client email(s), include your subject and a message, then click Send Now, and you have sent your client a document they can sign online!

In a nutshell

All in all, if there’s anything else you need or want to know about electronic signatures, which programs are best for eSigning PDFs, or more details about signNow, visit our Questions & Answers page or the signNow Blog. There, you can find a plethora of valuable articles and blogs covering things from eSignature laws to customer success stories.

Some of the companies who already trust and use signNow include but aren’t limited to GoFundMe, AMGEN, FirstData, CBS Sports, and many others.

If you and your team are tired of bottleneck-full processes and are ready to upgrade your eSignature workflow, signNow is definitely for you. Get started with a FREE trial today!

Grady Andersen
Grady Andersen
Contributing Writer
November 05, 2020
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