digital signatures have separate functions

Digital Signature vs Electronic Signature: What's the Difference?

Contrary to popular belief, electronic and digital signatures have separate functions and are not interchangeable. For businesses to manage document signing wisely, they must understand the distinctions between the two. This article will teach you about digital signature vs electronic signature. It will also explain why businesses often need both.

What is an Electronic Signature?

An electronic signature is a digital sign that someone wants to follow the rules in a paper or contract. For standard wet ink signatures, which require signing a paper document by hand, this is a more modern alternative.

Legal and business teams can make and sign papers online with electronic signatures, which makes the signing process easier. These declarations, which demonstrate that both parties are prepared to abide by the terms of the agreement, are legally enforceable.

There are many methods to sign documents electronically, including:

  • Using Word: You can add a signature to a Word document.
  • Using PDFs: PDF files can also be signed electronically.
  • Using Google Docs: Google Docs offers electronic signature options.
  • Using Excel: Excel spreadsheets can be signed electronically.
  • Using iPhone: iPhones have features that allow electronic signatures.

The quickest and most dependable method is to use software like DocuSign, which is made specifically for creating electronic signatures. While DocuSign is a popular choice, there are a number of alternative solutions that may be more feature- and cost-effective for your company.

What is a Digital Signature?

Verifying that a document is authentic

Verifying that a document is authentic and error-free may be done using a digital signature. A digital signature is neither an exact replica of an actual signature nor is it the same as an electronic signature. Instead, a digital record keeps papers safe from being changed or faked.

Digital signatures employ advanced identifying techniques, such as certificate-based IDs, to verify that the signer is who they claim they are and that the document hasn't been altered. This technique has a high degree of security since the digital certificate and the paper are linked via cryptography.

The Difference Between Digital Signatures and Electronic Signatures

The terms "digital signature" and "electronic signature" are often used interchangeably. Still, they are not interchangeable and provide varying degrees of protection. Let us take a look at electronic signature vs digital signature -

1. Purpose

A digital signature's main job is to protect the paper and make sure it is genuine. Digital stamps make sure that the paper hasn't been changed or messed with. A computer signature, on the other hand, shows that the signer wants to be legally bound to the deal.

Digital signatures are used to show that a document is real, and electronic signatures show that the person who signed the document agrees to the rules in it.

2. Common Use Cases

Digital signatures and electronic signatures are used in different situations because they are used for different things.

Business contracts often utilize electronic signatures to demonstrate that both parties accept the terms specified by the other party. They thereby make a legally enforceable agreement and carry out their end of the bargain.

Digital signatures are often used to confirm and check digital papers by licensing bodies or trust service providers. These groups make sure that the digital signature is real and that the paper hasn't been changed.

3. Creation Process

The creation processes for digital signatures and electronic signatures differ significantly.

  • Electronic Signatures: Created and added to documents by individuals or teams signing or marking the document. This can be done using Word, PDFs, Google Docs, Excel, or iPhones.
  • Digital Signatures: Created by software and algorithms using a method called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). PKI involves processes, hardware, and software that generate two keys (public and private) to ensure secure data transfer.

4. Ease of Creation

Creating digital signatures involves more stringent security mechanisms compared to electronic signatures.

  • Electronic Signatures: Typically easier to create, with no strict validation processes required. They can be added quickly to documents using various software tools.
  • Digital Signatures: Require advanced authentication and cryptographic binding of the digital certificate, making them more challenging to create.

5. Level of Security

digital signatures involves more stringent security mechanisms

Due to the fact that they are cryptographic, digital signatures are safer. They leave a detailed audit trail that lets everyone see what changes were made to a document and make sure the signer is who they say they are.

  • Electronic Signatures: They are safe, but they might only sometimes meet the strict requirements of digital signatures, especially if they were made with simple tools that aren't made to keep court documents safe.
  • Digital Signatures: Encrypt them with cryptography to make them impossible to change or mess with.

Digital Signature vs Electronic Signature: Which Do You Need?

The choice you make for digital vs electronic signature should be dependent on how trustworthy and secure you need your documents to be.

  • Electronic Signatures: These can be used to quickly and easily add marks to deals. For simple signing needs, most electronic signature tools will do.
  • Digital Signatures: These are necessary to make contracts safer and lower the risk of fraud and tampering. There is a higher chance that the paper is real and hasn't been changed with their help.


In today's business world, both digital signatures and electronic signatures are very important. Even though they are used for different things, combining them can make sure that all of your papers are safe and real.

Optimizory has solutions that combine the convenience of digital signatures with their security. This means that you can handle contracts and sign them safely from one platform. Visit Optimizory's website to learn more about how they can make the process of signing documents easier.

Have any queries?

Please send a mail to to get in touch with us.