Online Signature Tool

An online signature tool is more commonly referred to as an e-signature solution, e-signature platform, or e-signature software. These are business applications that facilitate the digitization of the signing process by enabling a signatory to sign documents, PDF files, Word Documents, or other contracts using their mobile device, tablet, or computer.

With a mature market stretching back decades, there are many established electronic signature solution providers including OneSpan Sign, DocuSign, HelloSign, PandaDoc, and SignNow.

The types of contracts signed using electronic signatures are numerous and varied and include many business and legal documents. Just a few examples include:  

  • Mortgage applications
  • Leases
  • Invoices
  • Purchase orders
  • Expense reports
  • Sales contracts
  • New hire documentation
  • NDAs  
  • Letters of intent
  • Vendor agreements
  • Internal compliance

E-signature vs ink signature vs digital signature

Like many technical industries, e-sign professionals use several specific industry terms that may sound synonymous to the average consumer. They are all involved in signing documents, but let’s parse some of these terms.

  • Wet Ink or handwritten signature: This is a signature written by hand using a pen, quill, or other ink writing utensil. It represents the signer’s consent to be bound by the terms of whatever contract is being signed. 
  • Electronic signature: E-Signatures are the digital versions of ink signatures. They serve the same purpose though they are applied using different means. Legislation around the world typically recognizes three kinds of e-signatures: Simple e-signature, Advanced E-Signatures (AES), and Qualified E-Signatures (QES). The primary difference between the types of signature relate to levels of security and authentication ensuring the authenticity of each signature.
  • Digital signature: Digital signatures are not signatures in the conventional sense. A digital signature is encryption/decryption technology that prevents a digital document from being tampered with after signing.

Benefits of signing PDFs with electronic signatures from OneSpan to sign PDFs

Great user experience:
Between a drag and drop document builder tool, reusable templates, and bulk send features, OneSpan Sign offers an exceptional user experience for administrators. At the same time, OneSpan Sign features an intuitive interface, one-click signing, and other helpful functionality to make the process as easy as possible for the signers as well. Furthermore, OneSpan Sign enables you to feature your own custom branding, so you can foster trust in your digital process and create a seamless experience.

Process efficiency and paperless processes:
A completely digital process with automation rules to move the transaction along can streamline your paper processes and document workflows while eliminating document errors, such as missing signatures and other form data.

Partner ecosystem and integrations:
OneSpan Sign has a number of pre-built connected for the third-party applications you use every day, including Salesforce, Pegasystems, Laserfiche, Guidewire, and Box as well as Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics 365. Furthermore, OneSpan Sign offers open APIs and SDKs to expedite the integration process.

Flexible pricing:  
OneSpan Sign offers a Professional Plan and Enterprise Plan. Each is catered to different use cases and deployment styles to meet the needs of a diverse range of companies and organizations.

Step by step guide: E-sign business documents

Follow the video tutorial below to learn how to sign a PDF online from your email using OneSpan Sign. See for yourself just how easy it is to sign!


  1. The signer receives an email signature request to their preferred email account, whether Gmail, Yahoo, or another service provider. Click the link within to access the document in your email.
  2. Review the E-Sign Disclosures and Consent Document. Tick the checkbox and then Click Accept to consent to the terms.  
  3. Next, OneSpan Sign will automatically direct you to the documents that require your signature. Use the menu on the left-hand side to find and access the list of documents that need to be signed in the ceremony.
  4. To e-sign the document, you must only click the Signature Field.
  5. Click the Confirm button.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each document in your transaction.
  7. That’s it! You’ve officially signed a document with OneSpan Sign!

Browse more video tutorials about signing PDF documents online in the OneSpan Resource Center:


The Beginner's Guide to Electronic Signatures

The Beginner's Guide to Electronic Signatures

This essential briefing introduces important legal concepts and key considerations when creating digital business processes with eSignatures.

Download now


Electronic signature FAQs

Are electronic signatures legal?

Yes. Though specifics will vary, over 60 countries around the world have passed legislation around electronic signatures regulating their use. Some notable examples of these laws include:

  • United States: Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act)
  • United States: Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA)
  • European Union: eIDAS Regulation

Each country has their own unique specifications around electronic signatures, so it is important to review the relevant regulations in your country of operation. Visit the OneSpan eSignature Legality Guide for more information.

Should I keep a paper record after e-signing for each person signing?

No need! Organizations that have document management systems like ECM can easily archive signed documents which allow enterprises and small businesses alike to store and archive digital copies of their signed documents for easy retrieval.

Plus, OneSpan aligns with all data residency requirements and can ensure your data stays in your country. 

Should my hand drawn signature match the one on my passport?

It can, but it does not have to. The ESIGN Act specifies that the legal requirements define an electronic signature as “an electronic sound, symbol, process attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record and be legally bound.”

With that legal definition, the signer’s consent to the contract is of utmost importance, so long as that can be verified and assured, the form of the signature can be flexible.

Is OneSpan Sign compatible with iOS and Android mobile devices?

Yes! OneSpan Sign is fully compatible with iPhones and other mobile devices. OneSpan Sign can be used to sign all your important documents in real-time. Customers can send and sign documents using the OneSpan Sign mobile signature app as part of our Professional Plan.

What is the process for uploading an image of your signature?

There is a simple and straightforward process to create and save an image of your hand drawn signature.

  1. Visit the My Account screen in OneSpan Sign. You can access this screen using the top menu in the platform. Then select Signature from the toolbar on the left.
  2. Click the pen icon
  3. Use your mouse, touchpad or trackpad, or stylus to draw your signature
  4. Click Clear to wipe the field and redraw your signature until you are satisfied
  5. When complete, click Save

Once uploaded, you can use this signature image to sign unlimited documents.

Get Your E-Sign Questions Answered

Our experts are ready to discuss how electronic signatures can streamline your processes and create a superior user experience.