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Adobe Sign vs. Docusign: Which E-Signature Solution Best Fits Your Business?

It's no secret that the right electronic signature platform can be a huge time-saving tool for businesses across industries. In fact, e-signature software can be used to not only save time, but to also create lower an organization's environmental footprint all while reducing costs. Choosing between Adobe Sign, HelloSign, Pandadoc, SignNow, EchoSign, Zapier, DocuSign, OneSpan, RightSignature, and the newcomer ApproveMe is made easier when you understand the intricacies of each solution.

Whether your company is in real estate, health care, financial services, human resources, or responsible for sensitive documents, the right digital signature company can help you to implement cost-saving efficiencies. Discover the solution that you need with our easy to digest Adobe Sign vs DocuSign guide. Of course, if you want to skip ahead to the end, you'll discover that ApproveMe is not only a new e-signature company, but it also offers competitors advantages and benefits that its competitors can't.

Adobe Sign vs. DocuSign

E-Signature solutions have become essential to SMB’s looking to cut costs by reducing the amount of paper used in the document signing process. Adobe Sign and DocuSign are two well-known solutions relied upon by organizations of all sizes. Both offer some excellent features designed to make the process of obtaining digital signatures easier.

In the following roundup, you’ll learn about the differences between Adobe Sign and Docusign and ApproveMe as an alternative document signing solution.

An Overview of Adobe Sign

adobe sign homepage

Adobe Sign is an Adobe Document Cloud solution that is built for businesses. Unlike many of its competitors, Adobe Sign caters to enterprise organizations. It features licenses for 100 to 499 users, provides good workflow management, and has a fairly intuitive user interface. Smaller businesses (SMBs) and nonprofits can use the basic package level to access a fairly robust series of features, including document sealing and audit trails. The key to the Adobe Sign electronic signature platform is its level of user accessibility. For example, Adobe Sign can be used with Android devices, iPads, tablets, iPhones, desktops, and laptops. Finally, it is important to note that Adobe Sign is a subscription service that can be used anywhere in the world.

Summary of Adobe Sign:

  • Documents can be signed anywhere, are legally binding, and contain digital signatures that are accepted in a court of law.
  • Workflows can be customized to meet unique user and information technology needs.
  • Laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices can be used to sign, send, manage, and upload documents.
  • Signature services can be customized to meet organizational needs.
  • Document templates can be customized with expiration settings, directions, notifications, form fields, and an audit trail.
  • An unlimited number of documents can be sent at the lower tiers.
  • Company size varies, however Adobe Sign does feature licensing for 100 – 499 users.
  • Adobe Sign is compliant with ESIGN, UETA, and HIPAA.
  • Adobe Sign has a wide range of native integrations, including Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Salesforce, and Netsuite. However, all enterprise and custom API integrations can only be used as part of the Enterprise pricing tier.

Adobe Sign allows a user to access the platform from a web browser or a mobile device. It can also be embedded in company systems to work with other applications. The software coordinates seamlessly with popular business tools like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Adobe Sign also integrates with Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Google Drive.

Users have two ways of controlling the workflow capabilities of Adobe Sign that do not require any coding skills.

Workflow Designer — It provides an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that lets administrators create and manage workflows. Process steps can be followed consistently to reduce confusion and speed up the delivery of important documents requiring an e-signature. A user can include documents in agreements, relevant characteristics of participants, and add pre-filled fields for the convenience of the recipient. It is also possible to set passwords and deadlines for agreement expirations.

Advanced Workflow — We found this to be one of the most impressive aspects of Adobe Sign. This section of the platform allows companies to extend Adobe Sign to build self-service applications that include e-signature capabilities. Workflow creation is done using intuitive flowcharts. A user can also build in permissions and specific limitations around stakeholders. Adobe Sign can also be used to build dashboards for the management of signed documents and delivery of business reports. There are more drag-and-drop capabilities that companies can use to connect Adobe Sign with other existing integrations and back-end systems.

Adobe Sign works with a variety of secure signature creation devices like smart cards, USB tokens, and cloud-based digital certificates. Companies can work with their choice of timestamp or certificate authority. The Adobe Sign platform has the support of many authorities via the Adobe Approved Trust List (AATL), and the European Union Trusted List (EUTL).

An Overview of DocuSign

docusign homepage

DocuSign is one of the largest and oldest electronic signature software companies. You can create, edit, send, sign, and save documents online. These documents can be sent from laptops, desktops, tablets, iPad, and mobile devices. Additionally, the documents are legally binding, remain secure, and introduce a streamlined approach to contractual workflows. 

Over the years, DocuSign has become more easily integrated with other technology services. To date, documents can be uploaded from Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce, and other applications. The documents can be edited with the drag-and-drop tool to easily indicate where users need to add their initials, signature, or date. Company size isn't a factor when using DocuSign. In fact,  DocuSign is ISO 27001:2013 and SSAE 16, SOC 1 Type 2, and SOC 2 Type 2 certified so that it can cater to domestic and international companies of all sizes.

Summary of DocuSign:

  • Signed documents are legally binding. 
  • The digital signature is accepted in the court of law. 
  • Documents can be signed anywhere. 
  • No download is necessary if the browsing option is selected. 
  • DocuSign has a separate mobile app. 
  • The company boasts a large user base of more than 50 million unique users. 
  • Laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices can be used to sign, send, manage, and upload documents. 
  • Each document can be customized with form fields, expiration settings, reminders, and an audit trail. 
  • DocuSign is compliant with ESIGN, UETA and HIPAA.
  • Directions to all involved parties can be included with each document. 
  • Certain features are only available with premium price packages. 
  • Pricing varies based on the selected package.

DocuSign Cons

  • Expensive. 
  • More extensive features are only available with the more expensive plans. 
  • Phone, email, and chat support only available with the higher plans. 
  • Signer authentication costs extra (depending on the selected plan). 
  • Cumbersome to use. 
  • Takes time to figure out the nuances of the platform.

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Adobe Sign and DocuSign Similarities and Differences

Common Features

Adobe Sign focuses on how to streamline signature workflows for small to large organizations. It can be used to power numerous Microsoft solutions, including Adobe Acrobat, Adobe PDF, and Adobe Creative Cloud. DocuSign provides legally binding documents that are built for both individuals and global companies. It focuses on lower costs, faster results, and ease of use to enhance the customer experience. As seen through research and user reviews, both companies provide:

  • Audit Trail.
  • Authentication.
  • Auto Reminders.
  • Bulk Send.
  • Company Branding.
  • Customizable Templates.
  • Digital Seals.
  • Document Analytics.
  • Document Management.
  • Enterprise Plan With Additional Customization For A Premium User Experience.
  • Notifications And Reminders.
  • Mobile Signature.
  • Multi-Party Signing.
  • Task Progress Tracking.
  • Two-step Authentication.

Key Differences

There are a few key differences between DocuSign's signature process and Adobe Sign signature workflow. The typical DocuSign process includes:

  1. Picking a document.
  2. Customizing the document. The type of document can include a variety of formats including PDFs and Microsoft Word files.
  3. Specifying recipients (including areas where the document needs to be signed or initialed).
  4. Designating required fields.
  5. Sending the document to the necessary recipients.
  6. Upon signing, the document is securely stored in the cloud.

In addition to the above steps, DocuSign also offers users access to the Transaction Room. As its name suggests, the Transaction Room is built as a shared space for teams to securely review and comment on documents. This feature is especially important for highly-regulated industries that require additional layers of security and privacy.

Adobe Sign’s signing process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Type in the recipient's email.
  2. Attach the file that needs to be signed.
  3. Compose a custom message to the recipient.
  4. Add identity verification to the document.
  5. Add forms fields, signature blocks, and specify the required fields. Existing document templates are available for customization; alternatively, pre-made templates can be used during this stage.
  6. Upon the recipients review and signature, a PDF copy will be sent to both parties.

It is important to note that the entire workflow process is tracked under the "Manage" tab. Additionally, the workflows can be customized to meet specific organizational or regulatory requirements. Finally, the workflows can be used to trigger specific internal "next steps," such as order fulfillment and billing.


Adobe Sign Pricing

  • Individual -- $9.99 per month. An unlimited number of documents can be sent. Recipients can esign anywhere and from any device. Additional electronic signatures and responses can be tracked in real time.
  • Small Business -- $29.99 per month. Individual features are included. Additional features include tracking responses, enhanced notifications, more licensed users, and online payment.
  • Business -- $39.99 per month. Individual and Small Business features are included. This tier offers additional optimization and customization features.
  • Enterprise -- Pricing available upon request. All of the features of Individual, Small Business, and Business plans are included. This is the preferred choice for large enterprises that are interested in deep integrations with existing business systems.

DocuSign Pricing

  • Personal -- $10 per month. Five or fewer documents can be signed each month. Limited document template customization is permitted. The browser and mobile application solutions are both available.
  • Standard -- $25 per month per user. All of the Personal features are included. The second pricing tear also includes reminders, notifications, and additional branding options for each document.
  • Business Pro -- $40 per user per month. All of the Personal and Standard features are included. At the third pricing tier users have access to unlimited document signing and sending. Workflows can also be customized, signer attachments can be added to documents, and more comprehensive fields are available.
  • Advanced Solution -- Pricing is available upon request. All of the Personal, Standard, and Business Pro features are included. The fourth pricing tier is typically used by enterprises and features improved customer support as well as advanced features that can be customized to meet organizational needs.

Online Customer Reviews

Adobe Sign Reviews and DocuSign Reviews

Typically, user reviews are positive for both DocuSign and Adobe Sign. The limitation of Adobe Sign's integrations to the Enterprise pricing tier is a common drawback in many online reviews. Additionally, the fact that Adobe Sign is built for larger organizations makes it less popular with small businesses. DocuSign receives poor marks for its limited number of signatures at lower pricing tiers. When all factors are considered, the G2 software comparison site rated DocuSign a 4.5 out of 5 stars and Adobe Sign a 4.3 out of 5 stars. Gartner also places DocuSign slightly ahead of Adobe Sign with 89 percent of users recommending the latter, and 90 percent of users recommending the former e-signature solution.

Picking an E-Signature Solution

In conclusion, both Adobe Sign and DocuSign offer similar functionalities that make them evenly ranked. In this vein, DocuSign offers API editions, a built-in sandbox, and the Transaction Room for highly regulated industries. Adobe Sign provides a seamless integration with the Adobe Document Cloud and offers easy to edit and customize PDFs. However, the size of your team and your integration needs could make all of the difference in terms of access, customization, pricing, and control. The good news is that a third alternative, ApproveMe, can be used to overcome the downsides of both DocuSign and Adobe Sign. ApproveMe offers an exceptional user experience, enhanced security, and is set to revolutionize e-signature software solutions. Contact a member of the ApproveMe team today to learn more.

Looking for an alternative to Adobe Sign or Docusign?

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Parties other than ApproveMe may provide products, services, recommendations, or views on ApproveMe’s site (“Third-Party Materials”). Third-Party Materials available through ApproveMe’s site may contain links to other websites, which are completely independent of ApproveMe. ApproveMe 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.

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