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Adobe Reader Now Has Free E-signature App

Adobe has been busy since it purchased e-signature vendor EchoSign last summer. Earlier, the company announced that Dell would be using EchoSign in its Dell Cloud Business Apps, and last month Adobe began integration with - so users could sign their cloud-based documents.

At the time, Adobe stated on its blog, 'We want to make our EchoSign eSignature service as ubiquitous, as, well, Adobe Reader.' Well, that day has come: Today, you can download version 10.1.3 of Adobe Reader X and start signing your documents for free, with no additional software needed. Here is the blog post from Adobe with the announcement.

Reader users can choose between adding a cursive-looking signature or drawing their 'mark' directly into their PDF documents with a simple toolbar (shown here).

But wait, there'a more. New features of Reader include additional annotation tools, so you can add comments, sticky notes or other marginalia to your PDFs. And also starting today, Adobe has a mobile update 10.2 to Reader that will have e-signature capability, as well. It is available for both iOS and Android phones.

E-signatures are not exactly popular, probably adopted by only a few percent of users - comparable to the use of encrypted emails. And this is the case despite the numerous warnings of PDF exploits and other infections that are easily installed inside these types of files.

One issue has been the extra-purchase and steps that are needed to set things up. Another problem is the lack of awareness that Reader is a free app and its feature set has greatly expanded over time. It used to be that you needed to pay for a different version that would allow you to edit or annotate files. With Reader X, that is no longer the case, and you can do a fair amount of collaboration with the free software.

Having these annotation features and e-signatures available directly inside Reader might be the push that will get more people to begin using both of them. Or there might be other factors inhibiting adoption of e-signatures. We're about to find out.

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