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Electronic Signatures F.A.Q.

What are electronic signatures?

An electronic signature is a simple and often legally recognized way to indicate consent or approval on a digital document or form. Unlike electronic signatures, digital signatures are a specific implementation of an e-signature that requires the signer to have a certificate-based digital ID.

What is Adobe Sign (formerly eSign)?

The electronic signature service at UMass Amherst currently uses Adobe Sign (formerly eSign). Adobe Sign is a product that enables departments, faculty, and staff to obtain electronic signatures for documents such as contracts, agreements, or estimates. This service is a faster and more sustainable alternative to signing paper documents.

How do I obtain an electronic signature account?

Electronic signature accounts are only required for document originators. Departments, faculty, and staff can Submit the Adobe Sign Software License Registration Form to request an account. UMass Amherst IT will contact you within three business days with more information about your account. NoteThe service is not available to undergraduate and graduate students at this time.

How much does an electronic signature account cost?

The annual cost is $125 per year per account per document originator (signers do not need an account).

How do I log in to Adobe Sign (formerly eSign)?

For document originators: once your account is active, go to and log in with UMass Amherst email and the password you created for your electronic signature account. For document signers, you will receive a link to a document through email. You do not need to have an Adobe Sign account to sign a document. 

When can I use electronic signatures?

Electronic signatures can replace paper signatures for contracts, agreements, and other documents, some exceptions apply. Please speak to your supervisor regarding the use of electronic signatures in your area. In some cases, a paper signature is required. Do not use Adobe Sign for sensitive documents. 

What file types can I use?

Adobe Sign supports the following file formats:

  • PDF (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls and .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx)
  • WordPerfect (.wp)
  • Text (.txt)
  • Rich Text (.rtf)
  • Graphics (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .tif, .tiff, .bmp and .png)
  • Web (.htm or .html)

Who can see the documents I send via Sign (formally eSign)?

Adobe Sign electronic signature requests are sent directly to the email address(es) of the signer(s) that you specify before you send a document. Only someone with access to that email address will have the ability to open and sign the document.

Can recipients sign a document on a mobile device?

Yes. Adobe Sign supports web-enabled phones and tablet devices as long as the device has a web browser.

Can I store signed documents on Adobe Sign (formally eSign)? 

Adobe Sign archives signed documents, but always make sure to store a local copy of signed documents by downloading them to your computer or saving a print copy. 

Can I send sensitive documents with Adobe Sign (formally eSign)?

No. Do not use Adobe Sign to send or store documents containing sensitive information (e.g., Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers).