Electronic vs Digital Signature - Is There A Difference?

Fri. 24 Dec. 202113943

In 2022, as the epidemic spreads, different countries have issued strict travel restrictions and isolation measures. This makes it more difficult and even impossible for people from different countries or regions to sign contracts face-to-face. In this case, electronic signatures and digital signature tools are widely used in work.

Electronic signatures and digital signatures are often used interchangeably, but what is the difference between the two? This article further analyzes these issues.


1. Electronic Signature


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In the United States, the Federal ESIGN Act of 2000 defines electronic signatures as “an electronic sound, symbol, or 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”.

Generally speaking, electronic signature is an electronic form of signature loaded on an electronic document by means of cryptographic technology. When used legally, electronic signatures can be considered as substitutes for handwritten signatures.

- Features:

  • Identify the true identity of the contracting parties

  • Accurately record the signing time of documents

  • Ensure the integrity, authenticity and effectiveness of the documents

  • Used to execute contracts or agreements






2. Digital Signature

Digital Sign

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A digital signature is an authentication mechanism that enables the creator of the message to attach a code that acts as a signature. It is a kind of ordinary physical signature similar to that written on paper, which can be regarded as encrypting and identifying a person's electronic fingerprint.

Since the authenticity of the users of digital signatures must be verified before signing, it is more secure than electronic signatures. In addition, it usually uses a public key infrastructure to ensure the authenticity of the signature.

- Features:





    Characterized by a unique feature that is in digital form



    Authorized by the certification authority responsible for providing digital certificates



    Verify the true identity of the signer to prevent forgery



    Linked to the data signed with it to detect changes to the file



    Used to secure the document









3. Differences between electronic signature and digital signature

- Intention

Electronic signatures are usually used to indicate the intention to sign a document or contract. In the business and legal fields, the signature on the document records that the person accepted the document.

Digital signatures provide better security for documents and are intended to address issues related to counterfeiting in digital communications. It is also committed to protecting the integrity of documents from unauthorized tampering.

- Type

An electronic signature can be any electronic sound, symbol or process that is attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record, and is executed or adopted by the signer with the intent to sign the record.

A digital signature is a method of identifying a digital message that functions like a normal signature written on paper, but uses techniques in the field of public key cryptography.

- Regulation

The digital certificate authority is responsible for issuing and managing digital certificates. As a trusted third party in e-commerce transactions, it bears the responsibility of verifying the legitimacy of the public key in the public key system.

The digital signature is authorized and managed by a trusted third-party certification authority. However, verification of the electronic signature is not performed by any trusted certification authority or trusted service provider.


4. How to process signatures efficiently and effectively?


Digital signature is more secure than electronic signature. For enterprises, digital signatures eliminate the hassle of numerous management tasks and help enterprises focus on other aspects of business growth. Enterprises can create safer transmission channels and more competitive products by using digital signatures.

PDF Reader Pro allows you to apply a legally-binding digital signature in PDFs, and it provides an effortless PDF solution for you to create, edit and fill out PDF forms. 

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As your PDF filler and signer, PDF Reader Pro has distinctive benefits in the following aspects:

  • Signs contracts with a text or image signature directly

  • Creates generate customized forms with plenty of form elements in colors

  • Fills out PDF forms and highlights form fields easily

  • Supports you to create your own signatures by keyboard, MacBook's trackpad, or Images

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