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How to use electronic signatures to sign your documents

Contracts, proposals, and other signed documents are critical to your business operations. Learn how to accelerate the signing process and secure digital signatures with PandaDoc.

Why electronic signatures are important

Capturing signatures is an important part of the document signing process, and it could take weeks for a mailed contract to get back to you. Most modern businesses can’t wait that long to get started.

Adding eSignatures to your document signing process is a smart and effective solution for getting contracts signed quickly so that you can move to the next stage of your business process.

Digital signatures: More than an image

Digital signatures are different from handwritten signatures. Businesses sometimes go wrong with electronic contracts when they believe that an image of your signature carries the same legal weight as an eSignature. This isn’t the case.

Most eSignature software, including PandaDoc, provides a secure and encrypted process for signing documents. This helps to combat fraud and ensures the authenticity of the signer when they write their name in the signature field. Without these protections in place, it becomes more difficult to enforce legality if a business relationship deteriorates.

Protect your contracts, your investments, and your relationships by using an eSignature solution that provides the legal protections your business needs.

Sign on any device

One of the key benefits of electronic signatures is the ability to sign anywhere.

With PandaDoc, your customers can use our mobile app sign on any iOS- or Android-based smartphone. Signers can also sign by logging into our website on desktop or laptop, regardless of the operating system they use.

On touchscreen devices, like the iPhone or iPad, your customers can use the screen to sign immediately. Signers with trackpads or a stylus can also create an image of their signature on a desktop or a laptop.

For everyone else, PandaDoc offers simulated signatures so that your signed document has the look and feel of a handwritten signature.

But remember: a true digital signature is more than the image of a handwritten signature. The secure and encrypted process that PandaDoc adds to your signing process is what gives legal weight to your signed document.

Frequently asked questions

Who uses electronic signatures?

Businesses across all industries use electronic signatures to sign contracts, onboard new employees, and secure new business.

Using digital signature technology allows businesses and their signatories to create legally-binding documentation that serves as the foundation of their business relationship.

Are electronic signatures legal?

Yes.  The legalities of electronic signatures vary between countries, but electronically-signed documents are considered legal throughout most of the world.

In the United States, electronic signatures are legal under the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act of 1999 (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act. Together, these documents provide the legal framework for electronic signatures in every state except Illinois, New York, and Washington, which rely on UETA alternatives at a state level.

In the European Union, most countries rely on the Electronic Identification, Authentication, and Trust Services (eIDAS) regulation. This regulation determines the legality of an electronic signature, as well as the required security protocols that determine the legality of most eSignature solutions.

PandaDoc is compliant with all laws and regulations across the US and the EU, ensuring that you can maintain a legal standing even when operating across international borders.

How do I get started?

To get started on a free 14-day trial, simply create a PandaDoc account. (No credit card required.)

From the PandaDoc dashboard, you can create documents from scratch, load templates from our robust template library, or upload your existing business documents directly from your Mac or PC.

If your business documents are saved as Google Drive or Microsoft Word documents, you can import them directly to the PandaDoc document editor and customize them! We also accept PDF files, but editing and markup functionality are limited.

Lastly, you can use integrations to connect PandaDoc with other business tools. Connect to Salesforce, Gmail, Dropbox, OneDrive, and over 1500 other tools with our integration platforms.

What if multiple people need to eSign?

With PandaDoc, you can send a document to multiple people throughout the document signing process.

Because the document resides in the PandaDoc document cloud, every signer reviews the same document before they sign. This means that you won’t have to consolidate or keep track of multiple files when the signature process is complete.

You can even implement a signing order when you send your document so that some customers can only sign after other decision-makers have already consented to the bounds of the agreement.

Are my documents secure?

Yes. PandaDoc protects your document in a number of different ways.

We are SOC 2 Type 2 compliant, and we regularly perform external audits to ensure our security is at the highest standard. Your data is also encrypted during transit and at rest.

With PandaDoc, your documents are both secure and legal from first send to final signature.