Electronic Signature FAQ

by Drew Ashlock

What is an electronic signature?

  • An electronic signature, or eSignature, is an electronic indication of intent to agree to or approve the contents of a document.
  • More specifically, the U.S. Federal ESIGN Act defines an electronic signature as an “electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

How does DocuSign eSignature work?

DocuSign enables you to sign with your mouse, upload a scanned image of your signature, or type in your name and select from a variety of signature styles to sign a document. With the DocuSign Ink mobile app you are able to sign with your finger. Whichever option you choose, your signature is a valid electronic signature. This signature will be associated with a unique identifier so that every document you sign will be recorded as signed by you and you alone.

Digital Signature

What are electronic signatures used for?

Electronic signatures are used for many kinds of documents and transactions, for both personal and business use. Here are some examples of how electronic signature is used:

  • Sign contracts, invoices, and work orders for signature
  • Approve project estimates and change orders
  • Sign school forms and permission slips
  • Complete and sign leases and rental agreements
  • Sign NDAs and client agreements
  • Sign bank documents and insurance forms
Electronic Signature

Are electronic signatures legal?

Yes, electronic signatures are legally binding in the United States and in many countries around the world. Read more about the legality of electronic signatures .

What are the benefits of electronic signature?

Using electronic signature can help save you time and money, whether you’re a large company, a small business, or an independent freelancer. Here are some of the benefits of using electronic signature with DocuSign:

  • Time and money saved – Eliminate the need to print, fax, scan, and ship documents.
  • Faster results – Send documents for signature and get a response in minutes, not days.
  • Increased efficiency – Store and access all documents from your secure cloud account.
  • Legally binding documents – Get a complete audit trail and tamper-proof virtual seal of the signed documents.
  • Flexibility to work on the go – Sign, send, and track documents from anywhere on any Internet-enabled device.
Electronic Signature iPad

Are digital signatures the same as electronic signatures?

Though the terms digital signature and electronic signature are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.

Electronic signature: An electronic signature, or eSignature, is an electronic indication of intent to agree to or approve the contents of a document. More specifically, the U.S. Federal ESIGN Act defines an electronic signature as an “electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

Digital signature: A digital signature is one form of electronic signature, and it refers to a specific technology. Digital signatures use asymmetric cryptography specifically to enable users to ensure the authenticity of the signer and to trust that a signature is valid through the use of a public and private key pair.

For industries or geographies that require digital signatures, DocuSign’s cloud-based electronic signature solution offers customers the ability to optionally require X.509-compliant digital certificates to authenticate signers prior to signing so they can meet their business requirements. DocuSign’s cloud-based solution makes it much easier for signers to securely apply their certificate and digitally sign any document, anywhere, anytime, from any device. Today’s digital certificates, on the other hand, require installed software that only works with certain devices and certain document types.

About DocuSign

DocuSign is the fastest, most secure way to send, sign, track, and store documents in the cloud.

  • Powerful platform – eSignature transaction management platform and cloud-based service with 99.9% uptime
  • Security – Highest level of security assurance (ISO 27001, SSAE 16)
  • Partner ecosystem – Integration with hundreds of partners and an industry-standard API
  • World-class customer service – Multitiered support offerings, including a 24/7 option
  • International capability – Sign with DocuSign in 39 languages