Difference Between Electronic and Digital Signature

Electronic and Digital Signatures are the two categories of signatures that are based on paperless approach. Sometimes people use the two interchangeably but that is not correct. The significant difference between electronic and digital signatures is that an electronic signature is a digitized form of signature done on a piece of paper where the email ID or phone PIN is used as verifying agent. On the contrary, a digital signature is a type of electronic signature which is a technically implemented form of electronic signature through cryptographic algorithms.

In simplest possible terminology, it is said that digital signatures are encoded form electronic signatures that exhibit a high level of security. So, we can say, the process for identifying signers and originators mainly differentiates electronic and digital signatures.

Before elaborating the differences of the two further, first, see-

What is Online Signature?

Signatures are the tools that help in validating the authenticity of any digital document. These are secured and used as evidence or identity of electronic documents regarding the signers. When any e-document is to be signed then either electronic or digital signatures are used.

Content: Electronic Vs Digital Signature

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Key Differences
  4. Conclusion

Comparison chart

Basis for CompariosnElectronic SignatureDigital Signature
BasicThis is the digitized form of paper oriented signature.It is an advancement of electronic signature that is encrypted cryptographically.
Standards Not existExist
NatureFor document verification.For document security.
Vulnerability towards tamperingExistNot exist as it is highly secured.
PopularityMoreComparatively less
VerificationCannot be verifiedCan be verified.
Security featuresLessComparatively more
AuthorizationNot existExist
TypesScanned signatures, electronic ticks, etc.Adobe, or Microsoft Word support, etc.
ValidationNo validationBy trusted certified authority.
ApplicationsCustomer or enrollment forms, agreements or contracts, employee onboarding, patient registration, etc.In secure online transactions, applying for tenders, e-filling income tax returns, etc.

Definition of Electronic Signature

Electronic Signature corresponds to a paper-oriented digitized technique that corresponds to the approval of the content within a document by the undersigned. This can be as simple as a check-in box, typed name, or scanned image of a signature done with a pen. This is associated with the intention of the signee with which the signature has been done.

An electronic signature is known to be the legal approach for signing an e-document. However, is considered to be less verified as it is simply a pen-paper signature that is captured electronically. Thus, it lacks authentication regarding verification of signee or document. Due to this, the chances of tempering the document are more in the case of electronic signature.

Definition of Digital Signature

Digital Signature is known to be an advanced version of an electronic signature where the electronically captured signature undergoes a cryptographic process in order to digitally encrypt the signature. The cryptographic signature takes place in a way that it uses personal key infrastructure that helps in authenticating the signed document.

It is a convenient technique that helps to authenticate e-documents with high-level security through a digital signature certificate. It works in a way that it uses a mathematical algorithm including the public and private keys. During signing the e-document a cryptographic hash is produced that is encrypted by a sender’s private key.
Further, a signature is merged with the document and is sent towards the recipient with a sender’s public key. At this end, the decryption of the received document is performed using the public key this leads to the generation of another cryptographic hash and if both the hashes are matched then this shows the untampered document hence verified.

Key Difference Between Electronic and Digital Signature

  1. Majorly electronic and digital signatures are differentiated on the basis of the processing of the signature. An electronic signature is simply known to be a digitized form of an inked signature, while digital signatures are electronic fingerprints obtained cryptographically.
  2. An electronic signature is free from any coding or standards i.e., is not validated by trusted service providers. While digital signature makes use of a highly efficient encryption standard called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
  3. The intent of electronic signature is document verification while the intent of digital signature is securing the document.
  4. In a digital signature, various security features are present that make it more reliable and secure. As against, electronic signature has less security feature thus is comparatively less secure than the former.
  5. Due to the less complexity involved, an electronic signature is more popular in comparison to a digital signature.
  6. As far as authentication is concerned then electronic signature does not use any significant method for the same but the signer’s email or phone PIN is used for identification. Whereas digital signature uses certified digital identification methods, in which the fingerprints of the documents get linked with the user’s identity. Through this, the signee’s information gets embedded into the e-document.
  7. To create a digital signature, platforms like eSignature software are used. Through this software, one can validate how authentic the signee is, thus the chances of getting changed are very less. While as electronic signatures are simply scanned copies hence, it does not use any such software and can get easily changed due to low security possessed by it.
  8. The electronic signature mechanism is easy and reliable while the digital signature is comparatively difficult to implement but assures the authenticity of the signee.


Thus, the above discussion concludes that an electronic signature is different from a digital signature. A digital signature eliminates the downside of an electronic signature as it is of unregulated nature, unlike a digital signature. Hence, we can say, that though the basic purpose of electronic as well as digital signals is the same i.e., authentication of e-document, digital signatures are more famous as these are more secure and reliable.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *