In today’s digital world, implementing an electronic signature (eSignature) solution is crucial for businesses to ensure teams can get work done, when, where, and how - based on each business's specific eSignature workflow requirements.
There are several eSignature solutions on the market, but choosing the wrong vendor can mean wasted time, budget, and frustration. To help, we evaluated two popular alternatives—DocuSign and Adobe Sign— to help you understand which eSignature solution is right for your business.
We focused on these seven criteria:
- Pricing and flexibility
- Features and functionality
- Customer support and success
- User satisfaction & reviews
Founded in 2003, DocuSign pioneered the spread of eSignatures as a digital solution for an increasingly remote and paperless world. Today, they work with more than a million customers, and hundreds of millions of users, across more than 180 countries.
The eSignature tool boasts over 350+ pre-built integrations, an expanded line of solutions and a powerful API. Together, these enable users to seamlessly build DocuSign into their workflow.
It’s hard to dispute DocuSign as the industry leader. But since 2003, several other capable eSignature solutions have popped up—so it’s worth considering which eSignature tool is really best for your team.
Introducing Adobe Sign
Founded as EchoSign in 2005 and acquired by Adobe Systems in 2011, Adobe Sign is one such competitor. They’ve processed over eight billion transactions around the globe for a wide variety of companies and individuals.
Today, it’s the preferred eSignature partner for all Microsoft products, in addition to more than 100 other integration partners, and trusted by top Fortune 500 companies for their eSignature needs.
With high customer satisfaction ratings and tons of glowing reviews, Adobe Sign is a worthy competitor and DocuSign alternative.
Winner: Adobe Sign
Alternative: Nitro Sign provides unlimited eSignature, robust enterprise grade features, and enterprise support - Take a look at our pricing page.
Both solutions start out around $10 per month for limited personal use, but as you scale, Adobe Sign becomes the more affordable option. Adobe Sign plans also include more generous document allowances, in addition to the lower monthly cost.
Here’s the pricing breakdown for DocuSign:
And here’s the pricing for Adobe Sign:
Winner: Adobe Sign
Alternative: Nitro Sign does not use envelope or transaction models to limit usage and deployment across your organization, we simply provide unlimited eSignatures across all our plans.
All Adobe Sign plans include 150 documents per user per year. DocuSign’s Personal plan limits users to 5 envelopes per month, and the rest of the plans offer 100 envelopes per user per year.
Envelopes can include as many documents and signature placements as you need, so they’re a great usage model if you frequently send documents in bulk or for many signatures at once. However, if you go over the envelope limit on your plan, you’ll have to incur additional costs to buy more. The DocuSign model isn’t great for a steady or irregular flow of documents.
With both tools, enterprise customers have the flexibility to work directly with each company and craft a plan that works for you. Custom plans can solve for high-volume document requirements, for example, and unlimited users.
Alternative: Nitro Sign empowers businesses to transform the way they work, by eliminating expensive processes, streamline workflows and accelerate organization-wide productivity. See what Nitro customers are saying.
Functionally, both Adobe Sign and DocuSign have the features and infrastructure to scale with businesses of all sizes.
The problem comes down to cost. Both tools use consumption-based pricing models—costs go up as you add more users and require more signatures. That can make it expensive to deploy their eSignature solutions across an organization.
As you scale, it may be worth speaking with each company directly about volume discounts or a custom enterprise plan to make scaling the solution more cost effective.
Alternative: Nitro Sign offers the most common eSignature workflows with an affordable, flexible, and secure eSignature solution. Learn more about our features here.
Both tools offer the majority of eSignature features you may need.
- Extensive file type support (including .doc, .docx, .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, .txt, .ppt, and more)
- Text tagging and automatic placement
- Basic and advanced fields
- Mobile friendly, responsive signing
- Real-time document status updates
- PDF form conversion
- Attachments and supplemental documents
- Field restrictions and validation
- Reminders and notifications
- Signer orders and routing
- Online payments
- Document templates
- Self-service web forms
- Bulk recipients
- Delivery and receipt acknowledgement
- Conditional routing and workflows
- Document visibility controls
- Correct and modify sent documents
On top of those, DocuSign offers additional features—some of which are available through Adobe but only with other products (like Acrobat and LiveCycle).
Here are some of the features DocuSign includes that aren’t available with Adobe Sign features:
- Document and field markup
- Auto Navigate
- Comments (available in Adobe Acrobat)
- Draft Watermark
Alternative: Nitro Sign also meets standard requirements that lend legal validity to eSignatures, including additional privacy and security requirements such as AICPA, SOC2® Type 2, HIPAA, Privacy Shield and GDPR.
Both solutions meet standard requirements to provide legal validity and security to the eSignatures and documents signed within each tool. DocuSign and Adobe Sign both include these compliance certifications:
- ISO 27001:2013
- SOC 2
- PCI DSS
- CSA STAR
DocuSign and Adobe Sign also both have solutions in place (typically restricted to enterprise accounts) for other industry-specific compliance requirements like HIPAA, FedRAMP and FERPA.
Customer support and success
Alternative: Nitro has been supporting some of the world’s most innovative organizations since 2005, take a look at how Nitro ensures successful implementation, adoption and on-going support.
Both solutions offer robust self-service support resources including support communities, videos, user guide, tutorials and troubleshooting FAQs. DocuSign University and Adobe Sign Learn & Support resources are more than capable of providing routine support and can help you get the most out of each product.
DocuSign and Adobe Sign also offer live chat and phone support on all paid tiers (though DocuSign’s live chat is automated). Enterprise customers with both companies get much faster support and, in some cases, a dedicated support team.
In addition, any DocuSign user can purchase a support plan (separate from your regular subscription) to get access to additional support channels and faster response times. Adobe includes upgraded enterprise support with all Enterprise plans, but you can’t purchase upgraded support separately if you’re on a lower tier.
Alternative: Nitro works with leading technology innovators to bring enhanced flexibility and unlimited performance, see our growing list of integrations here.
Many of the categories above are pretty close—this one isn’t. DocuSign offers three and a half times more out-of-the-box integrations than Adobe Sign. There are more than 350 in all.
Both solutions integrate with popular software for file storage, collaboration, HR, CRM and document handling including, among others:
Some of the additional integrations DocuSign offers include: Smartsheet, Accenture, Automate.io and Pipedrive.
(You can find the full list of DocuSign integrations here.)
While both solutions integrate with Microsoft products, Adobe Sign is ranked as Microsoft’s preferred solution for eSignatures. And, of course, Adobe Sign works seamlessly with the rest of the Adobe suite.
User satisfaction and reviews
Alternative: Nitro has been supporting some of the world’s most successful organizations since 2005, take a look at what our customers are saying.
Adobe Sign and DocuSign both have their share of happy customers—with great ratings and reviews to show for it. DocuSign has a slight edge in both overall rating and sheer number of reviews.
But the difference is small. According to reviews on G2, Adobe has an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 (based on 816 reviews) and DocuSign has a slightly higher 4.5 rating (based on 1,783 reviews).
With that many reviews, it’s clear that both tools work well for a lot of teams. Here’s a sample of what customers have to say about Adobe Sign:
"My organization uses it across different business units, finance/legal/marketing/sales. All important documents are all signed through this platform and it is easy for the finance team to manage vendor + customer paperwork in one place."
"We love Adobe products in general, but Adobe Sign specifically is great for our organization. It allows us to get contracts and documents signed in an effective, efficient manner. Having it available as part of the Adobe Document Cloud Suite makes it easily accessible, too."
And about DocuSign:
"I love how [DocuSign] integrates with Salesforce, a pretty seamless process to send out contracts to clients for them to review and sign. You can set up notifications to get sent an email when someone views and signs the document as well - this is super helpful if you are in sales!"
"Very easy to use and our customers love this as they are able to sign any documents very easily and with the help of any device. I am free to track my documents as well as this platform provides his level of security for our important and confidential documents and contracts. This is the best platform to sign documents and contracts."
Which tool is for you?
At the end of the day, we can’t tell you which eSignature solution is right for you—because it depends on your business needs.
Based on everything we looked into, here’s our high-level evaluation:
- DocuSign is an industry leading tool best suited for small and medium businesses with substantial eSignature needs.
- Adobe Sign is a great online signature option for enterprise businesses and Adobe suite users.
Nitro Sign®: a great alternative
If you're looking for an option that is easy to use, affordable and includes robust enterprise grade features, we highly recommend you check out Nitro Sign.
Unlike DocuSign or Adobe Sign, Nitro Sign offers unlimited eSigning on all plans, with advanced features like custom branding, document templates, team collaboration and bulk signing.
Plus, our pricing plans are more scalable than DocuSign and Adobe Sign offers—so you can do more for less.
Want to learn more about Nitro Sign? Schedule a personalized demo with our sales team.
Rather dive in right away? Start your free trial today.