Basics

What is Adobe Sign?

Adobe Sign, an Adobe Document Cloud solution is a cloud-based, enterprise-class e-signature service that lets you replace paper and ink signature processes with fully automated electronic signature workflows. With it, you can easily send, sign, track, and manage signature processes using a browser or mobile device. And you can use turnkey integrations and APIs to include e-signature workflows in your enterprise apps and systems of record.

What business problem does Adobe Sign solve?

Eighty percent of businesses still struggle with paper-based processes that are slow, error-prone, and fragmented. Workers spend countless hours hunting down approvals and ink signatures—and then print, scan, fax or mail documents to get the job done. The resulting delays frustrate customers, business partners and employees alike—and ultimately reflect poorly on the company’s brand.  Adobe Sign helps business transform paper processes, making 100% digital workflows a reality with trusted and legal e-signatures. With Adobe Sign, workers and organizations can:

  • Get signatures in minutes, not days – Workers can easily request signatures from others, sign documents, and track and manage the entire process electronically.
  • Work anywhere, on any device – Signers click a link to sign documents from any location, at any time of day, using a browser or mobile device. No account sign-ups or downloads are required.
  • Add to your systems and processes – Integrate Adobe Sign into the systems and applications you’re already using today. Nothing changes except the speed of your workflows, and ease of gathering signatures.
  • Ensure legal and security compliance – Adobe Sign delivers the highest levels of security, availability, and legal compliance. We are the world’s trusted leader in secure digital documents and standout digital experiences.

How do I work with Adobe Sign?

Because Adobe Sign is a cloud-based service, there are many ways to work with it. All Adobe Sign purchase plans let you work in a web browser or mobile app to send, sign, track, and manage signature processes. Adobe Sign can also be used inside other applications. Individual users can send documents for signature and perform other tasks while working in popular business productivity apps like Microsoft Office 365 Word and PowerPoint, as well as Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive. And, Adobe Sign lets businesses use turnkey integrations and APIs to add e-signature workflows to your enterprise apps and systems of record, such as Salesforce, Workday, Ariba, Apttus, and many more.

What is Adobe Document Cloud?

Adobe Document Cloud is a complete portfolio of secure digital document solutions that speeds business transactions through 100%-digital workflows. It includes Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Sign along with web and mobile apps that work stand-alone or integrate into your existing document processes, productivity apps, and enterprise systems. Watch the video.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature, or e-signature, is a legal way to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms. One of the most relied upon definitions of an electronic signature defines an electronic signature as: “…an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record …adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”

Electronic signatures are:

  1. Legal – Electronic signatures are legally binding in nearly every industrialized nation, and even less developed countries are beginning to enact e-signature laws. In 2000, the United States passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act, making e-signatures legal for virtually all uses. The European Union passed an electronic signature directive in 1999 that member states used as the foundation for country-specific laws. Now, the European Union Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation will take effect in July 2016—creating a single, standardized regulation for all 28 member states. To learn more about signature laws, read Global Guide to Electronic Signature Laws: Country by Country.
  2. Tested – Adobe Sign has been the highest-rated e-signature app in the Salesforce community since 2006. Many Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, and tens of thousands of small to medium businesses, rely on Adobe Sign to process tens of millions of agreements every year. Learn about Adobe Sign customers.
  3. Secure – Electronic signatures are more secure than written and fax signatures. Adobe Sign manages the complete process, including routing documents, guiding signatures or approvals, generating notifications, and storing signed documents in a secure environment. In addition, the final document is certified with a tamper-evident seal. To learn more, visit the Trust Center.
  4. Auditable – The process of gathering electronic signatures from multiple parties is completely tracked to ensure compliance. Adobe Sign maintains a detailed audit trail that logs all events and actions taken by the people who participated in the transaction.
  5. Verifiable – Electronic signature processes can use a variety of methods to authenticate the identity of signers. Typical “e-signature” processes send the document to be signed to a specified email address and use the recipient’s access to that email account as a basic form of authentication. To increase security, many businesses rely on additional authentication steps (multi-factor authentication) to guarantee the identity of people signing important documents. Examples include phone authentication, one-time passwords, social network identities (for example, Facebook), and Knowledge Based Authentication, which requires signers to prove their identity by answering questions unique to them. Another form of authentication is commonly known as a “digital signature” and requires people to sign with a certificate-based digital ID. Each signature is encrypted and bound to the document. Both the signer’s identity and the integrity of the signed document can be validated through a trusted third-party certificate authority.

How are electronic signatures better than paper or fax signatures?

Electronic signatures are more secure — and get the job done faster and cheaper — than paper-based signatures. Electronic signatures:

  1. Apply to the entire document – If a paper contract has two or more pages and the signature is applied only to a single page, unsigned pages could be changed without anyone's knowledge. With Adobe Sign, a cryptographic binding is applied to the entire document before delivering a PDF of the final, signed document to all parties, creating a certified document with a tamper-evident seal. If any information changes on any page, Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader software display a notification that the document’s certification is no longer valid.
  2. Can be tracked and managed efficiently – Electronic signature processes driven by Adobe Sign provide complete visibility into the signature process, letting you keep track of document status in real time, get notified when your documents are signed, and send reminders as needed.
  3. Can't be duplicated with a copier or scanner – It's too easy to forge a paper signature by copying it, scanning it, or tracing it with a pen. With Adobe Sign, a signature is bound to a specific instance of the document and tracked as part of a multi-step signature process.
  4. Can't be backdated – With paper signatures, signers are free to enter any date or time they choose, making it possible for one of the parties to change the "active” date of the signing without notifying other parties. With Adobe Sign, the time is centrally managed by the hosted service and backdating is not allowed.
  5. Are much easier to authenticate – Authenticating a paper signature requires another handwritten signature from the same signer for forensic comparison. If additional signature samples aren't available, authenticity can't be proven. With Adobe Sign, multiple authentication methods can be applied to guarantee the identity of people signing documents.
  6. Are similar to using a notary, but without the hassle – Paper signatures can be made more secure if you work with a trusted third party like a notary, but the in-person signing ceremony adds costs and delays to the signing process.
  7. Reduce the costs and hassles of long-term storage – Electronic document storage is less expensive than renting floor space for paper filing cabinets. If documents need to be retrieved, the task can be done with simple search commands. And documents can be sent to the requesting party in moments, instead of by fax or overnight mail.
  8. Prevent documents from being defaced – Paper documents can be defaced when signers cross out text in the document. Electronic signature processes driven by Adobe Sign protects the integrity of the original document so information cannot be hidden or removed.

Is there a difference between electronic and digital signatures?

While the terms may seem similar, electronic and digital signatures actually describe two different approaches to signing documents — and those differences are linked with signature laws and regulatory requirements. Digital signatures are a subset of the larger category called “electronic signatures.” Where typical electronic signatures can use a variety of methods for authenticating signers — such as email, corporate IDs, or phone verification — digital signatures use one specific method. With digital signatures, signers authenticate their identity using a certificate-based digital ID, which is typically issued by a trusted third-party certificate authority.

Another key difference between typical e-signatures and digital signatures is the evidence used to prove that a document was signed. Adobe Sign manages the entire process securely, tracking every step in the signing process and capturing that information in an audit trail. Both the audit trail and the signed document are certified to provide a tamper-evident seal, and the audit trail can be used to produce evidence of each party’s signature. Digital signatures add one more level of proof. With digital signatures, each signature is encrypted and bound to the document. Both the signer’s identity and the integrity of the signed document can be validated through a trusted third-party certificate authority. Adobe Sign supports both methods of signing in a single, scalable signature solution. Read the white paper on electronic and digital signatures.

Adobe Sign capabilities

Can I customize signing workflows with Adobe Sign?

Yes. Adobe offers two powerful and easy-to-use options that let administrators or business analysts customize signing workflows for their organization — with no “coding” required. In addition, some turnkey integrations - such as our Salesforce integration - let you build custom workflow templates as well.

Workflow Designer lets you create easy-to-follow “send” experiences for your users so process steps can be followed consistently every time. With this tool, administrators can design and manage workflow templates easily with an intuitive drag-and-drop editor. It's easy to specify: documents to be included in an agreement; characteristics of the participants, including predefined names and roles; form fields to be pre-filled by the sender; agreement expiration or password options; and more.

Advanced Workflows extends Adobe Sign so you can build self-serve web apps that include e-signing. Use it to design workflow input forms with drag-and-drop ease; define workflow rules using intuitive flowcharts; configure stakeholder rules and permissions; enable collaboration throughout the process with predefined rules and communication types; create dashboards to manage signed documents and deliver business reports; drag and drop to connect pre-built integrations with Adobe Sign; and quickly integrate with back-end systems. Read about Adobe Sign workflow automation solutions.

Which enterprise applications does Adobe Sign integrate with?

Turnkey integrations are available for leading business systems, including Salesforce, Ariba, Apttus, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft SharePoint, NetSuite, and Workday. Adobe Sign also integrates with Adobe Connect and Adobe Experience Manager. Learn more about integrations.

Can Adobe Sign be integrated with custom in-house applications?

Yes. Adobe Sign can be added to your company’s business applications or websites using a comprehensive set of REST or SOAP-based APIs. Learn more at the Adobe Sign Developer Center.

Can my company embed signable forms into our website?

Yes. Embedding signable forms into your website makes it easy for customers to access, fill in, and sign your company’s forms. After they’ve signed, Adobe Sign can deliver copies of signed documents to all parties immediately or route the agreement for countersignatures before finalization.

How does Adobe Sign work with Adobe Experience Manager Forms?

For complex enrollment processes such as new bank account, government benefits, or new patient onboarding, Adobe Sign can be used in combination with Adobe Experience Manager Forms to create exceptional experiences with adaptive forms that resize to fit any size screen and streamline the complete process. With it, customers can find forms online and fill and sign with ease. Employees use smart dashboards review and process applications quickly, and then automatically create personalized communications to welcome the new applicant and manage an ongoing relationship with them. Learn more about digital service enrollment.

How is Adobe’s approach to digital signatures unique?

Adobe’s approach to digital signatures offers more flexibility than other signature solutions. With Adobe Sign, you can create end-to-end signing processes that include digital signatures, e-signatures, or a combination of the two, providing flexibility to build workflows in accordance with your own specific compliance or risk profile. It supports the full range of secure signature creation devices, including USB tokens, smart cards, and cloud-based digital certificates. And it lets you work with the certificate authority or timestamp authority of your choice, with support for hundreds of trusted authorities through the European Union Trusted List (EUTL) and the Adobe Approved Trust List (AATL). With Adobe Sign, organizations in the European Union can confidently deploy signature processes in compliance with both the Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES) and Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) requirements specified in the new electronic identification and trust services (eIDAS) regulation, which is set to take effect in July 2016.

Does Adobe Sign integrate with popular business tools like Microsoft Office or Box?

Yes. Using a downloadable add-in for Microsoft Word or PowerPoint in Office 365, you can send documents and presentations for signature directly from your Office apps. Adobe Sign also works with Box, Google Drive, and Dropbox. For example, you can send, sign, track, and file signed documents directly from your Box account. And you can work in the Adobe Sign web app to save and open files to and from Box.

Is Adobe Sign the only cloud-based service in Adobe Document Cloud?

No. In addition to Adobe Sign, Adobe offers Adobe Document Cloud PDF services. These services are used to support free Acrobat Reader DC and paid Acrobat DC subscription offerings. Free services include the ability to do simple document signing with the Fill & Sign tool, and store and share files online. Paid services include the ability to create, combine, edit, export, and organize PDFs using a browser or a mobile device.

How is Adobe Sign different from Adobe EchoSign or Adobe Document Cloud eSign Services?

Adobe Sign is the new name both Adobe EchoSign and its successor, Adobe Document Cloud eSign services. For customers, nothing changed other than the name. You can still log in, process signature workflows, and manage your service exactly as you have in the past. If you’ve customized the experience with your own branding, nothing will change there either.

Mobile

What is the Adobe Sign mobile app?

Adobe Sign mobile app is a free app for Android or iOS devices that works as a mobile companion to Adobe Sign solutions. The app lets you conduct complete business transactions on the go. With it, you can send, sign, track, and manage signed documents from your iOS or Android device. It’s also the ideal tool for collecting e-signatures in person from a client or customer. On iOS devices, you can even sign documents offline. The app syncs automatically when you’re back online.

How do I download the free Adobe Sign mobile app?

To download the latest version of this app, visit Google Play or the iTunes App Store.

Can I use Adobe Sign mobile app to get handwritten signatures in person?

Yes. You can use the app to do in-person signing from anywhere.

Can I use my own signature when signing?

Yes. In addition to drawing your signature on your mobile device, Adobe Sign mobile app lets you use your device camera to take a photo of your handwritten signature, then use it to sign a document. Your signature is automatically synchronized across web and mobile so you can access your signature image any time.

Can I use Adobe Sign to get signatures when my mobile device is offline?

Yes. With the Adobe Sign iOS app, a document can be signed offline even when there is no Internet connection. The document will synchronize with the cloud automatically when a network is available again.

Does Adobe Sign mobile app support enterprise mobility management (EMM)?

Yes. Adobe is committed to helping enterprise customers meet demand for mobile business productivity solutions while safeguarding enterprise security and compliance. Adobe Sign mobile app supports the Android for Work EMM platform today.

Can I e-sign documents with other Adobe mobile apps?

Yes. You can perform some signing functions using free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or Adobe Fill & Sign mobile apps, but neither of these match the comprehensive functionality of Adobe Sign Mobile app. With the app, you can fill and sign documents, request signatures from others, track the entire process, and manage signed documents from anywhere — all while meeting enterprise-class security and compliance requirements. To learn more about mobile options, read the Acrobat Reader DC mobile app FAQ.

How is the Adobe Sign mobile app different from the Adobe EchoSign or Adobe eSign Manager DC mobile apps?

Adobe Sign is the new name both the Adobe EchoSign mobile app and its successor, Adobe eSign Manager DC.

Purchasing Adobe Sign

How do I purchase Adobe Sign?

Adobe Sign can be purchased in the following ways:

Adobe Sign core plans:

  • Individual - Get signatures and track responses in real time.
  • Business - Customize and optimize for your business.
  • Enterprise - Build e-signatures into your business systems.

Popular Adobe subscription plans:

The Adobe Sign individual plan is included in the following. Look for the tool named "Send for Signature" to use Adobe Sign capabilities inside these applications.

Adobe Document Cloud plans:

The following volume purchase plans are available direct from Adobe and combine Acrobat Pro DC, the Adobe Admin Console, and selected Adobe Sign business plans.

Contact Adobe Enterprise sales.

Can I get business or enterprise e-sign capabilities with Creative Cloud for enterprise?

No. Creative Cloud for enterprise plans include Acrobat Pro DC, which includes e-sign capabilities for individual users only. These solutions are available separately in Adobe Document Cloud for business or enterprise plans. Contact Adobe Enterprise sales to learn more.

Is there a trial version of Adobe Sign?

Yes. You can also sign up for a trial version of Adobe Sign that works in your web browser.

Legality and compliance

Is e-signing legal?

Yes. Electronic signatures are legally binding in nearly every industrialized nation, and even less-developed countries are beginning to enact e-signature laws. In 2000, the United States passed the ESIGN Act, making e-signatures legal for virtually all uses. In 1999, the European Union passed an electronic signature directive that member states used as the foundation for country-specific laws. Now, the European Union regulation on electronic identification and trust services (eIDAS) is set to take effect in July 2016, creating a single, standardized regulation for all 28 member states. Other countries have enacted similar laws as well. To learn more, read the Global Guide to Electronic Signature Law.

What security and legal regulations does Adobe Sign comply with?

Adobe Sign meets or exceeds stringent security and legal compliance standards. Adobe Sign is certified compliant with ISO 27001, SSAE SOC 2 Type 2, and PCI DSS. Additionally, Adobe Sign can be configured or used in a manner to allow organizations to meet industry-specific compliance requirements such as HIPAA, FERPA, GLBA, and FDA 21 CFR Part 11. Please note that customers are ultimately responsible to ensure that Adobe Sign is configured and secured in a manner that allows the organization to comply with industry-specific legal obligations.

Does Adobe Sign comply with accessibility regulations such as U.S. Section 508?

Adobe is committed to accessibility and strives to address it in its products and services. U.S. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. Adobe Sign features that support accessibility for people with disabilities are summarized in the Adobe Sign Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

How does Adobe support customers in case of a legal challenge to e-signatures?

Adobe’s global expertise, rigorous security practices, as well as continuous monitoring of the legal landscape helps our customers confidently maintain compliance with government and industry regulations around the world. Although Adobe Sign has never been successfully challenged or ruled against in a court of law, in case of a legal challenge Adobe is available to assist customers and defend the legality of its electronic signatures (e-signatures). At the discretion of Adobe, assistance may include:

  • Information about the solution and/or access to signed document audit trails
  • Explaining the Adobe Sign solution, such as at conferences
  • Providing sworn affidavits of Adobe experts
  • Making personnel available for a person most knowledgeable (PMK) deposition 

Security and infrastructure

Is Adobe Sign secure?

Yes. At Adobe, the security of your digital experiences is our priority. Industry standard security practices are deeply ingrained into our internal culture, software development, as well as service operations processes. Whether related to identity management, data confidentiality, or document integrity, Adobe Sign employs industry standard security practices to protect your documents, data, and personal information. Adobe Sign is certified compliant with ISO 27001, SOC 2 Type 2, and PCI DSS. To learn more, please visit the Adobe Sign Trust Center.

How is the Adobe Sign infrastructure in the EU region configured?

The Adobe Sign service for the European Union (EU) is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in an active/passive datacenter configuration. Each individual datacenter is located in a separate Amazon facility that runs on its own physically distinct and independent infrastructure. There are two primary simultaneously active Adobe Sign datacenters which are located near Frankfurt, Germany and three backup (passive) datacenters located in Dublin, Ireland. Data is synchronized across all Adobe Sign datacenters within the EU provide for a very high level of service availability and system fault tolerance in case of an outage.

Where is my data stored in the Adobe Sign EU region?

All Adobe Sign customer transaction data, documents, and metadata are securely stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Block Store (EBS) within the European Union (EU) Adobe Sign datacenters in Frankfurt, Germany and Dublin, Ireland.

What happens if there is an outage in the Adobe Sign EU region?

The Adobe Sign service in the European Union (EU) is hosted on 2 simultaneously active datacenters in a multi-layered redundancy model that uses automated processes to redirect traffic away from an application server, database, or datacenter that is experiencing an outage. Although extremely unlikely, if all active datacenters in Frankfurt, Germany experience an outage, back-up datacenters for Adobe Sign are maintained in Dublin, Ireland to provide for disaster recovery.

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