The 24 Best Apps to Digitally Sign, Scan and Fax Documents

Paula DuPont
Paula DuPont / April 7, 2015

For a truly paperless office, you need the right tools to electronically store, sign and send printed documents. Fortunately, the mobile phones, tablets and laptops we carry with us have all but replaced big, bulky unitasker devices like fax machines and scanners. All that's left then is finding the best digital signature apps, mobile scanners and fax machine replacements.

We've done just that for you, assembling a list of two-dozen apps that'll help you scan, sign, and fax paper and digital documents. The list is broken down into three parts—one for each function—offering several of the best apps for each category and then highlighting the stand-outs.



Digital Signature Apps

There’s more to signature apps than just the signature, and an app is especially useful if you can send the document and then track its progress from a unified dashboard. Individual users may not need those extra bells and whistles, though, and instead just need a simple way to affix an electronic signature. The easier it is to create and store the signature, the better the app experience.

Not all signature apps offer the same assurance, however. As noted by signature app developer SIGNiX, "digital signature" apps are more secure than "electronic signature" app. "Essentially, electronic signatures are an image placed on the document, but they can’t show if someone tampers with the document after it is signed," the company writes on its blog. Digital signature apps, on the other hand, link a signature to a specific signee and then keep tabs on the document going forward in case any alterations are made post-signature. So when you're considering which app to choose, be sure to look into security features—the app won't always be labeled "digital signature" and "electronic signature," but security information will be provided

Here are some of the top apps to sign documents.

App Great for Price Platform
HelloSign quick, simple signatures Free for 3 docs/month iOS, Android, Web
CudaSign shareable documents From $1/month iOS, Android, Web, Mac
Adobe Document Cloud eSign services Adobe integration From $15/month iOS, Android, Web, Windows
Preview Mac user convenience Free Mac
Adobe Acrobat Document Cloud Adobe form compatibility Free iOS, Android, Windows, Mac
DocuSign mobile document signing From $10/month iOS, Android, Web, Windows
RightSignature credit card payments Free for 5 docs iOS, Android, Web, BlackBerry
SigningHub secure digital signatures Free for 5 docs/month iOS, Android, Web
SignEasy offline access From $5 for 10 docs iOS, Android, Web
SIGNiX enterprise-ready digital signatures From $9.95/month Web
Inkdit bulk request signatures Free for up to 4 users Web
Agreen'Sign signatures on your website From $2/doc or $9/month Web

HelloSign for Quick, Simple Signatures (iOS, Android, Web)

HelloSign

HelloSign is one of the simplest and easiest ways for individuals on a budget to sign documents or collect signatures, and because of its simplicity, it makes for a good example of how signature apps work. With a browser extension, HelloSign lets you sign documents in Gmail, or use its mobile apps for iOS and Android to sign documents on the go. HelloSign’s saved signatures are a timesaver, too, or you can type in a signature, add initials, or fill out a form with text editing. If you're the one needing to collect another person’s signature, send a document by email right from the app.

To start using, you’ll need first to create an account, and HelloSign supports Google Account logins. HelloSign integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, and more to quickly access your documents, but you can also upload your document by dragging it onto the HelloSign window. Once HelloSign has your document, click "Fill Out & Sign" to complete forms, enter your name and the date, and add a signature.

Create a new signature by uploading an image file, dragging your finger over your trackpad, or taking a picture of your signature with your phone. If none of that works for you, use one of HelloSign’s handwriting fonts to type your signature. Place your signature and resize it if necessary before clicking "Continue."

Enter your recipient’s email address, add a note to include with your signed document, and hit "Send." Preserve a copy of the signed document for your files by clicking "Download." From there you can track your documents, including those awaiting a signature, on the "Documents" page linked in the sidebar.

HelloSign Price: Free for 3 documents/month; Plans from $13/month

HelloSign works with app integration tool Zapier, too, so you can connect it to your CRM, email apps, and more to automatically request signatures and get notified whenever a signature has been requested. Here are some ways to get started, or check out Zapier's HelloSign integrations page for more info.

CudaSign for Shareable Documents (iOS, Android, Web, Mac)

CudaSign

In additions to sending documents by email for a signature, CudaSign will also generate a unique and shareable URL for your form or document, allowing you to post your document to your website. If you need a lot of signatures on the same type of document, upload a CSV of up to 1,000 recipients, and CudaSign will bulk send your document to the list.

Use CudaSign’s kiosk mode on an iPad to lock the app with the document you need completed displayed, perfect for registration tables. CudaSign comes complete with cloud and business app integration and an API allowing you to weave CudaSign into your own applications. While some features are only available to premium business users, CudaSign comes in as the least expensive option for individuals who need unlimited signatures at just $1/month billed annually.

CudaSign Price: Free to try for 7 days; Plans from $1/month

Adobe Document Cloud eSign services (formerly EchoSign) for Adobe Integration (iOS, Android, Web, Windows)

Adobe Document Cloud

EchoSign, now part of the new Adobe Document Cloud and renamed "eSign services," may set the high standard for signature apps. As the benchmark for professional document apps, users expect a lot from Adobe, and the pro user does get a bit more out of the new Document Cloud, including Adobe’s stellar form completion tool.

Even if your recipients don’t have an Adobe account, they can open and sign a document from any browser or mobile device. Alternately, sign from within your most-used apps with Adobe's enterprise application integration, or keep signers in your business applications with Adobe's API.

Adobe Document Cloud Price: Free to try for 14 days; Plans from $15/month

Preview for Mac User Convenience (Mac)

Preview

Preview comes pre-installed with Mac OS X and can be easily overlooked as a document annotation tool. Don’t discount Preview, though; it’s always been a great app for handling images and PDFs, and with OS X Yosemite release and the addition of Markup, Preview has just gotten better.

With Preview you can fill a form using text annotation, and you’ll have a lot of control over how your text looks. The signature feature is a real highlight, though. Use your trackpad to create a new signature, or sign a piece of paper and Preview will capture your signature using your Mac’s camera. Preview will then save your signature for future use, and you need only place it in your document.

Best of all, in Yosemite, you can open an email with a PDF, sign it right inside your message using the Preview markup extension, and send it back without ever opening another app.

Preview Price: Included Free with all Macs


Scanner Apps

You don't need a dedicated scanner to scan documents today; all you need is a scanning app for your smartphone. All mobile scan apps do one important thing: they scan and save your documents.

What sets scanner apps apart, though, is how easy it is to get your document into the file type you need, edit that document, and share it. Does the app recognize business cards and receipts? How difficult is it to save the scan to your cloud storage?

These seven scan apps not only take crystal clear snaps of your docs but also make it easy to share and save everything important. Among them, Evernote's Scannable and Google's Google Drive, two free apps, are good places to start.

App Great for Price Platform
Scannable organizing everything Free iOS
Google Drive Google Apps Integration Free iOS, Android, Web, Mac, Windows
Office Lens Microsoft Office Integration Free iOS, Android, Mac, Windows
Scanbot editing scans Free; $4.99 iOS, Android
Scanner Pro sharing scans $2.99 iOS
Prizmo accurate OCR $9.99 iOS, Mac
InstaPDF Mac integration free iOS, Mac
TinyScan precision editing free; $4.99 iOS, Android

Scannable for Organizing Everything (iOS, Android)

Scannable for iPad

Scannable, a scanning app by Evernote, is one of the best apps in this category for its ease of use. With the app open, just point your camera at a physical document and let Scannable identify and scan it, separating the paper document from its surroundings. If Scannable doesn’t see your document, however, manually snap a picture of it and then crop or rotate the scan so it looks just right.

Scannable automatically saves your document to Evernote and the offers other options. The easiest way, for example, to send your document out of the app is to message it to a colleague or share it via email. (Tip: If you use a third-party email app, add it via the "More" menu.) To save your document, export it to iCloud storage or open it in your favorite cloud storage service from the "More" menu option. Scannable saves your previous scans in the "Recent" screen so you can get at them quickly if you even need a particular document again.

The app is good for more than just scanning and sending documents, too. Scannable also recognizes business cards, making it easy to get that important contact information saved quickly. Connect Scannable to LinkedIn, and the app will add your new contact’s details to your address book automatically.

Scannable Price: Free

If you save your Scannable scans to Evernote, you'll then be able to use them to trigger actions in other apps via Zapier. Just save all of your scans to the same notebook, then set up Zapier integrations to create new tasks, add notes to your CRM, and more. Here are some ways to get started, or check out Zapier's Evernote integrations page for more ideas.

Google Drive for Google Apps Integration (iOS, Android, Web, Mac, Windows)

Google Drive

Many people aren’t aware that the Google Drive app has built-in image capture, letting you snap anything with your phone’s camera right from the Google Drive app. Everything is automatically uploaded to your Google Drive account, giving you quick access to your document from anywhere you use Drive.

If you don’t like the scan, just refresh the image for another take. For documents with more than one page, just hit the plus sign and keep scanning to create a multi-page PDF. When you’re satisfied, the app saves your scan to Google Drive as a searchable PDF.

Then, you can manage all of your PDF documents inside Google Drive, uploading other scans you might have from other apps. Google lets you search across all of them for any text contained in the documents using its OCR (optical character recognition) power.

Google Drive Price: Free


Fax Apps

Now that you’ve scanned your document, signed it, and had it signed by someone else, too, it’s time to fax it. Let’s be honest, though, who even has a fax machine anymore? Even if you do have an business fax machine, it seems as though no one in the office ever knows how to get an outside line or send a document long distance.

Despite the slow disappearance of the fax machine and all of the great alternatives we have to faxing (e.g. email, instant messaging), some business and legal documents can only be accepted by fax. For users who just need to fax a document but don’t have an easy way to do that, these apps can help.

App Great for Price Platform
HelloFax fax from Dropbox and Google Drive Free for 5 fax Web
Phaxio integrate fax with your apps From $0.07/page Web
RingCentral full-featured faxing From $8/month iOS, Android, Web, Mac, Windows
MyFax receiving faxes From $10/month iOS, Web, BlackBerry
FaxZero free faxing Free for 5 faxes/day Web
eFax sharing files + fax From $14/month iOS, Android, Web, Mac, Windows
GotFreeFax free fax without ads Free for 2 faxes/day Web
OnlineFaxes schedule faxes From $3/month Web
Crosby Fax receive faxes via email From £7/month Web

HelloFax (Web)

HelloFax

HelloFax is the fax component of its aforementioned sister app HelloSign, so this is a great solution if you need to both sign and fax documents. Just as with HelloSign, log in to the HelloFax app and upload your document directly or connect to a cloud storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.

If you need to add any information to your fax, such as filling out a form or adding a signature, make sure that’s completed before continuing. HelloFax will create a cover page if you need it, but you can include your own cover page in the document, too. Enter the fax number for your recipient and click "Send". Check your sent documents on the "Faxes" page.

There’s a cap on fax pages, even for paid accounts, with free users getting only five pages; you can earn additional free pages by sharing HelloFax, though. Once those avenues are exhausted, users have to choose a premium plan to keep faxing.

HelloFax Price: Free to fax 5 pages; Plans from $10/month after free trial

Phaxio (Web)

Phaxio

Phaxio is faxing for developers. A simple API makes it an easy task to build secure fax capabilities into existing systems. Phaxio can even be made HIPAA compliant with a few settings tweaks, ensuring that everything you send or receive is not only safe but also isn’t being stored remotely.

Pricing is simple and inexpensive, even for international faxes or for your own fax number. Phaxio automatically re-ups your balance so that you don’t miss sending or receiving a fax, but even if your balance dips below, the app still allows you to receive faxes, at least for a while.

Phaxio Price: $0.07/page to U.S. and Canadian numbers; $0.10/page to international numbers

Phaxio also works with Zapier, so you can connect it to all of the other apps you use for an easy way to send faxes from any app. You could send a fax directly from your sales app, keep a log of your sent faxes, and much more. Here are some ways to get started, or check out Zapier's HelloFax integrations page for more inspiration.

RingCentral Fax (iOS, Android, Web, Mac, Windows)

RingCentral

RingCentral Fax is about as full-featured as it gets, and their cloud faxing component integrates with the other RingCentral business communication apps. In addition to a number to receive incoming faxes and faxes sent by email, RingCentral also promises secure faxing. Online logs mean you will always know what has been sent or received and when it happened. If you need an additional notification, RingCentral will even text you to let you know an important fax has arrived.

RingCentral integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box, so you can keep your files where they are and send directly from your cloud storage service. Create a fax group in your contacts to quickly fax several numbers at once, and set a file type preference to make sure you’re always receiving documents in your preferred format.

RingCental Fax Price: Plans from $8/month

What's Your Favorite?

These apps make it a lot easier to minimize the paper you have to deal with, especially when combined with a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive for long-term document storage. Remember to always use secure and unique passwords, since you’re likely sharing and storing sensitive data.

Do you have a favorite app for scanning, signing, or faxing documents? If so, let us know in the comments below.

Credits: Photo courtesy Jim Abeles.

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