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Adobe vs. DocuSign—How To eSign With Both Services

by Hung Nguyen

You can also read this article in German, French, Indonesian, Italian and Portuguese.

A comparison between two popular electronic signing solutions: the pros, the cons, and the best way for you to sign documents digitally and freely.

Adobe Sign and DocuSign offer similar tools and business models on the surface. They’re both tech giants dominating their respective industries, and both aims to help individuals and businesses to streamline workflows and move deals forward with their electronic signing tools.

Adobe is known as the creator of the popular PDF format. Since recent times, the company has begun to branch out from its traditional offline offerings to establishing a more substantial online presence with its product offerings. Aside from Adobe Sign—where you can create digital signatures or request them from others, they have many tools at their disposal—for users to compress, edit, or convert PDF documents.


Adobe DocuSign comparison: Adobe Sign's UI

DocuSign, on the other hand, has always resolved its business around digital document signing. It’s arguably the go-to tool for many companies to sign contracts and close deals—and is renowned for cross-country regulatory compliance plus integrations with many online SaaS, such as Salesforce.


Adobe DocuSign comparison: DocuSign's UI

They both require an account to start signing a document. Both offer free trials and similar initial price points, which fluctuates later on, depending on the plan you choose to sign up for.


Adobe DosuSign price comparison

How To Sign a Document With DocuSign or Adobe

  1. Go to the respective online tool of Docusign or Adobe.

  2. Log in to your account (required).

  3. Upload your document to the platform.

  4. Sign the document or request the signature.

  5. Download the signed file once you complete the task.

Should I use DocuSign or Adobe Sign?


It’s entirely up to you and your needs. Both companies have huge followings, expansive global brand presence and trust, and support businesses of all sizes—from freelancers to Fortune 500 companies.

Electronic signing wise: Both offer standard and legally binding electronic signatures, form fields, online tools operational straight from your web browser. Sending a document to sign is also simple, albeit Adobe has a different tool for this task, functioning from the same platform.

Since both are paid software, you should opt for the one that supports your business the most. Both tools offer mobile apps to sign documents from your mobile device, but with Adobe, you can take advantage of their PDF conversion tools—depending on the plan you choose. For instance, since PDF is the ideal format for document sharing, most people opt to convert a Microsoft Word document to PDF before signing it.

With DocuSign, on the other hand—you get a tool that lives and breathes in digital signing. It has a much more extended trial period than Adobe (30 days instead of 14) and seemingly higher ratings across all online software listing platforms.

DocuSign aims to keep businesses moving’—and offers advanced customization options for users to create, save, and recycle templates. Once you make a template for an agreement or sales contract, you can whip it up again within seconds, the next time you secure a deal with your next big client.

Can I Sign for Free Without Adobe or DocuSign?


Yes—albeit there are numerous free tools out there (online, or even offline with preinstalled software such as Preview)—few offer everything both companies have to bring.

That’s where we step in. Smallpdf is the most popular online PDF software—and strives to make PDFs easy. You can convert, edit, and sign like Adobe, or modify contracts and request signatures via emails like DocuSign with our site.

And better yet, you don’t need an account like Adobe or Docusign to start the signing process. We feature an easy to use UI for a smooth and simple customer experience when it comes to signing the document. To get started:

  1. Open our version of the eSign tool.

  2. Drag and drop your document into the tool page.

  3. From there, create your electronic signature to begin.

  4. Otherwise, request signatures from the left-hand panel.

  5. Download your final document once it’s ready.


How to electronically sign a document for free without Adobe or DocuSign.

And yes, you don’t need to start a trial or enter your credit card information to get someone to electronically sign your digital document.

Your Trustworthy eSign Service


Our number of users has surpassed 500 million individuals. Everyone loves a free, simple, effective solution to PDFs, especially in the last year or so—when many of us started to work remotely.

Thus, we have formed a specialized eSign team—aptly named ‘The Signing’—to continuously work on developing the best electronic signing tool for you: An even better tool than Adobe and DocuSign, where you can track every single action on your document in real-time—every edit, comment, and signature placed.

What’s even more critical is predicting user needs. We want to involve at the beginning, the middle, and the end of every document modifying process and ensure that you have all the tools required to keep things going in your daily work processes.

If you have any questions, feedback, or feature requests, hit us up via @smallpdf on Twitter or email us at support@smallpdf.com

Enjoy signing!

Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen
Senior Growth Marketing Manager