What are electronic and digital signatures?

An electronic signature — also known as an ‘e-signature‘ — is a simple and legally recognized way to indicate consent or approval on a digital document or form. A digital signature is a specific implementation of an e-signature that requires the signer to have a certificate-based digital ID.

Start a free trial

Are e-signatures legal and secure?

While not all e-signatures are created equal, those executed using a trusted solution are
enforceable, secure, and meet industry and regulatory compliance standards.

  • Legally binding

    Electronic signatures are recognized as legally valid
    and enforceable in countries around the world.

  • PCI Compliance

    Adobe Document Cloud e-sign services comply with industry security standards, including HIPAA and PCI v3.0 used by the payment card industry.

  • More secure

    Due to multiple protections and certifications, e-signatures are typically more secure than pen and ink signatures.

  • Auditable

    Easier to audit than ink signatures, e-signatures can provide additional levels of security, tracking, and control.

Where are e-signatures accepted?

Currently, e-signatures are enforceable in 27 countries — including
Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Category 1: Countries where electronic signatures have the same legal status as written signatures.
Category 1: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States
Category 2: Countries where electronic signatures are enforceable, but do not have the same status as a written signature.
Category 2: Belgium, China, Czech Republic, France, India, Japan, Russia
Category 3: Countries where the status of electronic signatures is unclear or where digital signatures are strongly preferred.
Category 3: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay

How are e-signatures used?

Across departments, organizations, and industries — throughout companies both large and small — e-signatures serve the same function as ink signatures while removing the cost and manual hassles associated with paper and accelerating the time it takes to get documents signed.

  • Case study: NetApp

    International Fortune 500 company NetApp slashed contract processing time by 93% using e-sign services in Adobe Document Cloud.

  • White paper: IT and e-signatures

    Geoffrey Moore examines the impact e-signatures have on transitioning to all electronic processes.


Get peace of mind with e-sign services in Adobe Document Cloud.

E-sign services in Document Cloud adhere to the latest best-practice policies for online security and applies them at every level — from the application code and networks to the physical facilities. That’s why industry leaders including Aetna, BT Group, Dropbox, Google, and Proctor & Gamble choose e-sign services in Document Cloud to get documents signed — easily, securely, on any device.

Adobe Document Cloud Security Overview

Download PDF

ESIGN Act makes e-signatures legal

Download PDF
Visit Adobe Trust Center

News. Topics. Trends.

See Adobe Document Cloud in action.

Start a free trial