For many of our clients, it's imperative that they're able to edit, gather signatures and protect documents for and from their customers and coworkers. One of them, a construction company, has been looking into upgrading to eSignatures to increase [quicker] response rates. There are many options out there, with varying features and payment options.

For a quick look at memberships with specific features, check out the table below. To note, the table is not all-encompassing. To get the full list of features, you'll want to read the article further, and click the links to each program's website. What we deemed noteworthy can be found in bold!

Keyword Membership Plans
Account restrictions   Adobe Acrobat Pro DC     Kofax Power PDF Advanced
Audit trail Nitro Sign Essentials/ Advanced/ Enterprise   DocuSign Personal/ Standard/ Business Pro Foxit Sign   Kofax Power PDF
Bates Numbering Nitro PDF Pro     Foxit PDF Editor for Mac/ PDF Editor Pro Kofax Power PDF Advanced
Build fillable PDF forms from files Nitro PDF Productivity/ Pro Adobe Acrobat Pro DC      
Collect e-signatures via website form   Adobe Acrobat Pro DC with Advanced E-Sign DocuSign Business Pro Foxit Sign Pro  
Combine document pages for PDF Nitro PDF Productivity Adobe Acrobat Pro DC      
Encryption Nitro Sign Essentials/ Advanced/ Enterprise/ PDF Productivity Adobe Acrobat Pro DC   DocuSign Foxit Sign Enterprise Kofax Power PDF
Mobile apps   Adobe Acrobat Pro DC DocuSign Personal/ Standard/ Business Pro Foxit PDF Editor    
Multiple signature recipients Nitro Sign Essentials/ Advanced/ Enterprise Adobe Acrobat Pro DC with Advanced E-Sign DocuSign Business Pro Foxit Sign Enterprise  
OCR Nitro PDF Pro  Adobe Acrobat PDF Pack DocuSign   Kofax Power PDF Advanced
Office-style interface Nitro PDF Pro        Kofax Power PDF Advanced
Password protected Nitro PDF Productivity  Adobe Acrobat Pro DC     Kofax Power PDF
Redaction Nitro PDF Productivity  Adobe Acrobat Pro DC DocuSign Foxit PDF Editor Pro Kofax Power PDF Advanced
Reorganize page layout   Adobe Acrobat PDF Pack     Kofax Power PDF Advanced
Compare versions for differences   Adobe Acrobat Pro DC DocuSign Standard/Business Pro Foxit PDF Editor  
Split/ extract/ delete pages   Acrobat Pro DC      
Usage of the Cloud Nitro PDF Pro Acrobat Standard/ Pro DC   Foxit PDF Editor  

Adobe Acrobat:

As the creator of the PDF, Adobe is an obvious contender. All their options can be found here under the Products tab. We would like to point out though, the two main cons of Adobe:

  1. Their applications take up a lot of bandwidth. Prepare for that!
  2. It is subscription-based now. (We will note which contenders are not!)

Here's a breakdown of their Products:

  • Acrobat PDF Pack with e-sign is billed annually at $119.88/yr ($9.99/mo). This includes:
    • Converting PDF to Microsoft Office documents or image files: JPG, TIFF, PNG
    • Creating PDF from Microsoft Office documents
    • Organizing pages in a PDF file
    • Make scanned text editable with OCR, optical character recognition
    • Combining multiple files into a single PDF
  • Acrobat Standard DC (Document Cloud) is for Windows only. It costs $12.99/mo and requires annual commitment. You can create, edit and sign PDFs.
  • Acrobat Pro DC is for Windows and Mac. It costs $14.99/mo and requires annual commitment.
    • This includes:
      • Same features as Acrobat PDF Pack, plus...
      • Mobile apps: Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Scan
      • Share, comment and compare versions
      • Acrobat software download
      • Edit text and images in PDF files
      • Turn paper documents into editable PDFs
      • Turn paper or Word files into fillable PDF forms
      • Split, extract or delete PDF pages
      • Protect your PDFs with redaction, passwords, restrictions and encryptions
    • With e-sign it's the same price.
      • For teams, it's $16.99/user/mo with annual commitment.
    • With advanced e-sign is $27.99/mo and requires annual commitment.
      • Additional features include:
        • Add customized branding
        • Collect e-signatures from websites
        • Bulk send
      • For teams, it's $29.99/user/mo with annual commitment.

DocuSign:

We really like DocuSign, if price isn't a huge barrier!

  • Personal $10/mo
    • 5 eSignatures a month
    • Single user only
    • An app
    • Real-time audit trail
    • Reusable templates
  • Standard $25/user/mo
    • unlimited eSignatures a month
    • 5 users online
    • Like Personal: an app, real-time audit trail and reusable templates
    • Commenting, sharing documents & templates
  • Business Pro: $40/user/mo
    • All the same benefits as Standard, plus:
      • Signer attachments
      • Ability to negotiate fields
      • Single click consent
      • Ability to post forms online with a link to sign
      • Collect payments
      • Bulk send

Additionally, you can encrypt, redact and utilize OCR.

Learn more here!

Nitro:

We currently have clients that use this program and have had zero issues with it thus far!

  • Nitro PDF Productivity is $9.99/user/mo, billed annually.
    • It bundles PDF Pro and Sign Essentials (more on those later...)
    • Compatible with Windows and Mac.
    • 20+ users
    • This plan includes:
      • Create PDFs and combine files for PDF packets
      • Convert files to and from PDFs
      • Edit, review, markup and annotate PDFs
      • Build and fill PDF forms, as well as digitally sign documents
      • Keep PDFs secure
        • You can add passwords, encrypt your PDF and redact data/metadata.
  • Nitro PDF Pro for Windows is $179.99/user with a one-time license. Nitro PDF Pro for Mac (sold as PDFPen) is $129.95/user with a one-time license.
    • For both Windows and Mac, you can:
      • Utilize the same features as Nitro PDF Productivity, with these alterations/additions
      • Have up to 20 users
      • Utilize OCR
      • Cloud storage integrations
      • Microsoft Office-like interface
      • Bates numbering
  • Nitro Sign Essentials is $9.99/user/mo, billed annually, but is best for single users
    • Unlimited e-signature requests, capability to receive multiple signature recipients
    • Integrations with Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and OneDrive
    • Five individual templates, an audit trail and custom signing orders
    • Secure user management with encryption
  • Nitro Sign Advanced is $19.99/user/mo, billed annually, and is best for a team
    • All the same perks as Essentials, with these additions:
      • 10 Single Team documents and templates, reminders and notifications and custom branding
      • Optional Salesforce integration
      • Microsoft Word and SharePoint integration
      • Single Sign-on
  • Nitro Sign Enterprise is $29.99/user/mo, billed annually, and is best for multiple teams
    • All the same perks as Advanced, except these alterations/additions:
      • Unlimited team and individual templates
      • Bulk signing
      • Zapier Workflow and Microsoft Power automations
      • Two Factor Authentication

Learn more here, under the Products tab!

Kofax Power PDF:

It used to be sold through Nuance, if that rings any bells. We currently have clients that use this program and have had zero issues with it thus far! One of its main perks? No subscription! Buy once and use forever.

  • Power PDF Standard for Windows or Mac is $129
  • Power PDF Advanced for Windows (only) is $179

It features:

  • It has an Office-style interface, optimized for Windows 10 desktop, Microsoft Surface and Mac OS Big Sur
  • Create, edit, convert (to and from) and compile PDF documents and forms
  • Redact data/metadata from the PDF pages
  • Secure encrypted passwords and permission
  • Collaborate across your local network
  • Audit trail as part of the completed signing packages

Advanced features include:

  • Sign and send PDFs for signature with integrated Kofax or DocuSign
  • View protected & apply protection to PDF documents
  • Create and view PDF files according to necessary account restrictions
  • Redact text and graphics from PDF files
  • Convert to and from TIFF/PDF
  • Utilize OCR for image and text-based PDF files
  • Bates Numbering
  • Reorganize order of documents

To see the entire breakdown, go here.

Foxit:

  • PDF Editor is a one-time purchase of $159
    • It allows you to review, manage, share, protect and create PDFs
    • It is supported on Windows, macOS, Cloud, iOS and Android!
      • There are yearly plans for Windows and Mac. There are cheaper annual fees for iOS, Android and Cloud.
  • PDF Editor Pro is a one-time purchase of $179 and is best for large organizations
    • It additionally features advanced collaboration, editing and security
      • Add and edit text, graphics, images and objects
    • Supported on Windows
    • You can redact portions of protected PDF files

Bates numbering is a part of Pro and Editor for Mac.

To see the full comparison, go here.

Separately, they have three eSignature products: Sign, Sign Pro and Sign Enterprise.

  • Sign is $96/year
  • Sign Pro is $300/year and add more templates, integrations & online forms
  • Sign Enterprise has volume-based pricing and adds document libraries, as well as mass signatures.

They support encryption, audit trails and email authentication. Learn more here.

Microsoft Word:

We discovered this summer that Microsoft Word is actually more helpful with this than we had previously known! If you already own Word for 2013, 2016 or 2019, you can:

  • Open the PDF as you would any Word document
  • Once the program has converted it from the PDF version, you can edit it!
  • You can also save it as a PDF as well.

Unsure what year of Microsoft Office you have? Open Word, click File>Account>and then view Product Information. This tool works great on our Home and Business 2016 account!

Want to discuss which option is best for your business? Contact us today! 

headshot, owner, president, author, partners plus, IT company, IT services, SSD, recommendationBill Hogan is the Owner and President of Partners Plus. He has 40 years of experience in the technology industry, specifically IT support services. Bill has spoken at seminars all over the country about network management and published his latest book in 2018. Partners Plus was selected by PHL17 as the best Computer and Information Technology Support Company in the greater Philadelphia area in 2018.