Nitro Blog

What is an Electronic Signature?

Person signing on a smartphone.

Get answers to our most common FAQs about electronic signatures and eSigning.

What is an Electronic Signature? An electronic signature, or eSignature, is a computerized, legally-binding method for replacing a handwritten signature on physical documents.

It allows someone to both verify and secure a document, opening up options to go paperless on processes that previously required hardcopy documentation. eSignatures are also a greener way to do business, as they don’t require paper, postage or envelopes.

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What are the benefits of electronic signatures?

Legally binding and secure

Electronic signatures are legal and enforceable in nearly every industrialized country. They're often more secure than handwritten signatures as paper can pass through multiple hands during the signing process, and you don't know who may have seen your document.

Cost-effective

With electronic signatures, employees can use their valuable time more efficiently by making processes more streamlined. No more having to find a printer to print and mail documents! You'll also save costs on paper, ink envelopes and postage.

Environmentally responsible

Electronic signatures can help you operate more sustainably and reduce your environmental footprint—less paper, supplies and the need for physical archiving space.

Efficient

Paper kills workplace efficiency—especially when signing is involved. eSignatures promote faster document sharing and approval, creating measurable time savings.

Customer loyalty

A customer is more likely to do business with you if you make signing paperwork easier. Not everyone has access to a printer or the interest in printing, signing and mailing documents. And you get to close the deal faster—it’s a win-win.

Remote work support

Electronic signatures eliminate the inconvenience of mandatory in-person transactions. Support a remote work environment by empowering employees and customers to complete transactions while in the office, at home or on the go.

When do people use electronic signatures?

Discover how electronic signatures bring streamlined workflows to any department in any industry.

Sales

Sales reps can use electronic signatures to complete price offerings and partner contracts. They also make accepting terms and conditions, quotes and proposals more efficient.

Human Resources

HR teams deal with a plethora of documents daily. They can use electronic signatures on company policies, health insurance documentation and employee or contractor onboarding.

Finance

Bankers and other finance professionals can use electronic signatures to help customers open accounts, apply for mortgage loans online and request a debit or credit card.

Operations

Order confirmations, contracts, change requests and requirements sign-offs can all benefit from electronic signatures.

Procurement

Purchasing managers and team members can use electronic signatures to complete master service level agreements, vendor contracts, financing agreements and statements of work.

Legal

Legal professionals can use electronic signatures with clients who require NDAs, powers of attorney and compliance documents.

Nitro Sign integrates seamlessly into your workflows

Nitro Sign allows you to integrate electronic signatures seamlessly into your existing business applications. With powerful integrations and an easy-to-use application programming interface (API), Nitro Sign empowers you to create custom solutions to meet your specific needs. Its responsive design preserves looks and functionality on smartphones and tablets and is compatible with Windows, Mac and iOS.

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Accelerate your business with eSignatures from Nitro

Nitro Sign opens the door for you and your employees to complete eSignatures anytime, anywhere and from nearly any device. Get started in minutes with fast and flexible eSignatures.

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How do you add an electronic signature to a document using Nitro Sign?

Nitro Sign allows you to add an eSignature easily to your document on a PC, Mac and iOS in five simple steps:

  1. Access your email and open the message with the request for your eSignature.
  2. Click “Sign the Document” to open the document (no Nitro account needed).
  3. If the sender enables Two-Factor Authorization, enter that information.
  4. Click the signature and date fields to enter your specific information.
  5. Click "Submit" when you’re happy with your signature and date.

Why Nitro Sign?

Efficient workflows

Nitro Sign works with your existing tools, including Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Azure, and seamlessly integrates with your automated workflows and custom branding.

Legally binding

Nitro Sign aligns with global industry standards and data protection regulations, and complies with stringent eSignature regulations such as UETA, the ESIGN Act, eIDAS and more.

Intuitive user experience

Secure agreements faster with an easy, intuitive user interface that supports multiple languages and mobile displays.

No hidden costs

Other solutions may have hidden costs and overage charges that don't appear in upfront costs. With Nitro Sign Premium, you get unlimited users, unlimited access to all features and no hidden fees—ensuring you have a predictable total cost of ownership.

Nitro electronic signature FAQ

Is an electronic signature the same as a digital signature?

Not always. Electronic signatures are a broad category that encompasses many types of electronic signatures—including digital signatures. Digital signatures can offer more security than other electronic signatures because they validate the signer's identity and detect whether someone has tampered with the document since signing. Many countries in the European Union (EU) use digital signatures to meet Electronic Identification and Trust Services Regulation (eIDAS) requirements.

How do I request an electronic signature through Nitro?

Requesting an electronic signature with Nitro Sign is easy and secure. Follow these five steps:

  1. Sign in to your Nitro account and upload the document that you need to send for eSignature.
  2. Select the document from the main dashboard and click Request Signature.
  3. Enter the recipient’s name and email address.
  4. Drag and drop the Signature and Date fields where you need them in the document.
  5. Click Continue, customize your email message and click Request Signature.
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Nitro Sign: Request Signature

Are electronic signatures through Nitro secure and legally binding?

Yes, electronic signatures are enforceable and legally valid in almost every industrialized country. In 2000, the United States passed the ESIGN Act, granting legal recognition to electronic signatures. In July 2016, the European Commission's eIDAS regulation took effect, ensuring all EU Member States recognize and accept electronic documents with eSignatures.

What file types can I sign through Nitro?

Nitro Sign accepts many different document types when you request signatures from others. They include the following:

  • Documents
    • Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
    • Microsoft Excel (. XLS, .XLSX)
    • Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT, PPTX)
    • Microsoft Publisher (.PUB)
    • Microsoft Visio (.VSD)
    • HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
    • WordPerfect (.WPD)
    • Rich Text (RTF)
    • Text (.TXT)
  • Graphics
    • Bitmap (.BMP)
    • GIF (.GIF)
    • JPEG (.JPG, .JPEG, .JPE)
    • JPEG2000 (.JPF, .JP2, .J2K)
    • PNG (.PNG)
    • Metafile (.WMF, .EMF)
    • TIFF (.TIF, .TIFF)

If you need to use a file type not listed above, you can always open the document in Nitro PDF Pro, select “Print to PDF” and upload the newly created PDF into Nitro Sign.

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Request a Demo of Nitro Sign for Your Organization

If you would like to learn how Nitro Sign can benefit your business, contact us with any questions or to schedule a personal demonstration.