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Lokjithkirthik Viswanathan

Guide to Electronic Signatures in 2023 | Certinal7 min read

Guide to Electronic Signatures

In this comprehensive guide to electronic signatures, you will discover their applications, types, legalities, security considerations, and much more. Electronic signatures are becoming increasingly common as businesses move towards digital processes. Many industries now use electronic signatures, from contract signing to timesheet approval. If you’re not using electronic signatures, now is the time to start! 

What is an electronic signature? 

An electronic signature, or e-signature, is a legally binding electronic way of signing a document. For an electronic signature to be valid, it must contain all of the same information that would be included in a handwritten signature. In addition, electronic signatures must be attached to a document so they cannot be altered without detection. When you sign a document electronically, you attach a digital version of your handwritten signature. This digital signature contains encrypted information that verifies your identity and ensures the document has not been tampered with. Electronic signatures, including contracts, forms, and applications, can be applied to any document. 

An electronic signature solution like Certinal makes it easy to sign documents electronically. With Certinal, you can upload a document and add your electronic signature with just a few clicks. You can even add additional security measures, like requiring a PIN or password, to ensure that only authorized users can access your signature. 

How do electronic signatures work? 

There are a few different ways to create an electronic signature. One standard method is to create a digital image of your signature and insert it into the document you’re signing. You can also start an electronic signature by typing your name into a document or using a biometric signature, such as your fingerprint. Electronic signatures are more secure since they’re much more challenging to forge than handwritten ones. 

Are electronic signatures legal? 

Yes, electronic signatures are legal. Electronic signatures are just as legally binding as traditional signatures. The electronic signature laws are outlined in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, or E-Sign Act, enacted in 2000. The E-Sign Act states that electronic signatures have the same legal weight as handwritten signatures. 

Are electronic signatures safe? 

Yes, electronic signatures are just as safe as handwritten signatures. They may be more secure since they can’t be forged or tampered with like paper documents can. If you use a reputable e-signature service, your electronic signature will be as legally binding as a handwritten signature. 

Benefits of Electronic Signatures in 2023

There are many benefits to using electronic signatures. They’re more efficient than paper-based signatures. Parties can sign documents electronically instead of having to print out documents and schedule in-person meetings. This saves time and hassle and makes getting documents signed from anywhere in the world easy. 

Electronic signatures are also more secure than traditional signatures since they use encryption to protect the document and ensure that only the intended signatories can access it. This helps to prevent fraud and tampering. 

Electronic signatures in 2023 are legally binding in many jurisdictions. This means that they can be used for contracts and other important documents with confidence that they will be enforceable in court. 

Electronic signatures are a great option if you’re looking for a safe and secure way to sign documents electronically. 

How To Create an Electronic Signature? 

There are a few different ways to create an electronic signature. You can type it out, draw it with your finger or mouse, upload a scanned image of your signature, review and send it. It’s that easy! You can also track signatures online and set reminders to notify users to sign. Once the signatory signs, you receive detailed audit trails, and the signed document is stored securely on the cloud with advanced security. 

If you’re looking to sign electronically? Try Certinal, the best eSignature software trusted by enterprises. 

What Are the Types of Electronic Signatures? 

There are three types of electronic signatures: simple electronic signatures (SES), advanced electronic signatures (AES), and qualified electronic signatures (QES). 

1. Simple electronic signatures: Simple electronic signatures (SES), or standard eSignatures, are the simplest and most common type of electronic signature. They can be made by typing your name into a document or using a digital pen to sign your name on a touchscreen. 

2. Advanced electronic signatures: Advanced electronic signatures (AES) are more complex and secure than SES. They require a unique digital certificate that is a trusted third-party issue. 

3. Qualified electronic signatures: Qualified electronic signatures (QES) are the most secure type of electronic signature and typically involve cryptographic methods, such as digital signatures. 

Legality Of Electronic Signatures 

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) is a federal law passed in 2000 that legally recognizes electronic signatures. This law applies to all electronic contracts, including those between businesses and consumers. The ESIGN Act does not require businesses to use electronic signatures but establishes that they are legally binding. This means businesses can choose to use electronic signatures if they prefer, and consumers can be confident that their electronically signed contracts will be enforceable in court. The ESIGN Act has helped to make electronic commerce more convenient and efficient by removing the need for paper documents and in-person signatures. As a result, electronic signature law can provide helpful guidance regarding using electronic signatures. 

Examples Of Electronic Signatures 

There are many different examples of electronic signatures. The most common is the digital signature, created using a certificate issued by a certificate authority. This type of signature is often used to encrypt email messages or to sign documents electronically. Another example is the biometric signature, which captures a person’s physical characteristics (such as their fingerprint) to verify their identity.

This signature type is often used for high-security applications like accessing computer systems or sensitive data. OTP verification, where a signer receives an OTP either by email or phone & types the code they received from the electronic signature provider to access the documents to sign. Finally, the electronic signature pad captures a person’s handwritten signature and converts it into a digital format. This signature type is often used for legal documents or other formal agreements. 

Top Uses Cases of Electronic Signatures

  • Sales proposals 
  • Purchasing contracts 
  • Hiring & onboardings 
  • Bank forms 
  • Insurance paperwork 
  • Leases & rental agreements 
  • Tax documents 
  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) 
  • Non-compete agreements (NCCs) 
  • Timesheets 
  • School & university application & forms 
  • Vendor Contract

What Is The Difference Between Electronic Signature and Digital Signature? 

There often needs to be more clarity about the difference between electronic and digital signatures. Electronic and digital signatures are electronic methods of signing documents, but there are some key distinctions between the two. 

Electronic signatures are electronic records of the Intent to sign a document. Electronic signatures may be Symbolically attached to the document or logically associated with the signer’s identity. Common electronic signature implementations capture and store the electronic equivalent of a handwritten signature as an image. 

A digital signature, on the other hand, is an electronic signature that uses asymmetric-key cryptography to validate the identity of the signing party and ensure that the document’s original content has not been tampered with. Because digital signatures are based on cryptographic algorithms, they are more difficult to forge than electronic signatures. 

As a result, digital signatures are generally more secure than electronic signatures. However, electronic and digital signatures can provide a convenient and efficient way to sign documents electronically. 


If you’re looking to automate & streamline your signature workflow, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you need to sign documents electronically or collect signatures from others, we have the right solution. 

Certinal’s electronic signature solutions are easy to use and highly secure. Certinal meets stringent eSignature laws worldwide & exceeds the highest levels of security standards. Certinal helps enterprises with state-of-the-art eSignature solution that is easy to deploy and seamlessly integrates with any business software. Contact us today to learn more about our electronic signature solutions and how they can benefit your business. 

Schedule a personalized demo! 

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author avatar
Senior Executive - Marketing
Lokjith is a marketing content writer, and he writes about eSignature technology to raise awareness and help enterprises make informed decisions. Before discovering the SaaS industry, he organized Offline Marketing campaigns campaigns. He has a master’s degree from the Institute of Management Technology, specializing in Marketing.
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