A very common question that gets asked while discussing the topic of online signatures is, ‘What is the difference between an electronic signatures and a digital signatures?’

A very direct and generic answer to this question is that the electronic signatures and digital signatures are used interchangeably, but fact of the matter is that these two are quite different. A significant difference between these two is that digital signatures are mostly utilized to secure documents because they guarantee authenticity of documents while the online electronic signatures are like symbols attached with a contract where the signer has a very clear intent to sign documents.

Now that we have got a fair idea of both these types of signatures, let us try to understand both.


Electronic signatures are like an electronic process, or a symbol attached or logically associated with a contract or any other document. E-signatures are executed to perform online document signing by a person who has a clear intent to sign the document for different purposes.

In other words, e-signature is more like a digital version of a handwritten signature. They are used to showcase the intent to either approve or accept the contents of important documents by either a person or different parties involved.

One of the most relevant and significant benefits of electronic signatures is that they make signing online documents remarkably simple. They enable the users to sign documents online with either a tap or just a click of the mouse allowing them to sign using their fingers or a stylus.


Digital signatures are one of the categories of electronic signatures that leverage algorithms to produce a unique digital fingerprint for each document. This digital fingerprint is linked to the signer’s identity and is used to authenticate it.

Fundamentally, one can create digital signatures utilizing the public key infrastructure system. The signature software uses an algorithm to produce two keys (a public and a private key) consisting of a sequence of numbers that are essentially linked to each other mathematically.

When any user signs an online document, he/she uses the private key to create a suitable signature. The private key is basically used to stay under owner’s control essentially. At the time of the signing process, a crypto code ID is created and embedded inside the document. When verification is facilitated, the signer simply utilizes his/her public key for unwrapping the digital signature code while subsequently comparing it with the document to ensure that there is a match.

A digital signature uses cryptography to provide authentic proof of the integrity and origin of every signature while verifying it.


1Electronic signatures online are mainly used to verify the documents.Digital signatures are mainly used to secure a document.
2An electronic signature is not regulated by the certification authorities.On the other hand, digital signatures are most commonly regulated by the certification authorities.
3Electronic signatures use a wide range of methods for the purpose of authenticating the signer’s identity such as enterprise ID, emails, phone verification, etc.Digital signatures use the certificate-based ID for the purpose of authenticating the signer’s identity.
4Electronic signatures use an audit trail to showcase the proof of signing a document.Digital signatures bind each signature to the document through encryption to showcase the proof of signing.
5The electronic signatures are concerned with a comparatively lesser number of security features when compared to digital signatures.Digital signatures are specifically concerned with an increasing number of security features.


Now that the differences of electronic signatures and digital signatures are pretty clear, it will get much easier to make an informed decision about the type of electronic signature software applications that will be perfectly suited for your business. Adopt e signatures and boost your business.