Sign Requests: Getting Started

DocHub Sign Requests offer efficient workflows that reduce the time and hassle needed to capture legally binding eSignatures and form responses from third parties.  They are the perfect solution for completing contracts, forms and other documents.  In this article, we'll cover some of the key features offered by DocHub Sign Requests, including:


Signers Authenticate Instantly

DocHub delivers a secure, instant-authentication, URL to the Signers of Sign Requests.  

Signers will not need to sign up or create a DocHub account.  After clicking their instant-authentication URL, they can access, complete, and sign the document with no further verification steps.  For more information about the signer's workflow and to see a step-by-step animation, see: Receiving a sign request as the signer.


Automated Reminder Notifications

If a signer missed the first email or didn't complete the request within a given time period, DocHub can optionally deliver up to 3 automated reminders.

You can opt-in or -out of reminders on a per Sign Request basis. 

Your default choice and the reminder schedule can be configured from in your Sign Request Settings.  If the document is owned by an Organization, then the default Sign Request Settings of the organization are used (Organization -> Settings -> Sign Requests).

Manual Email Reminders

In addition to automated email reminders, the sender has the option of sending signers another notification email as a reminder from document's Audit Page by clicking Signer Actions > Send Reminder.

Automated Inactivity Expiration

You can choose between 1-90 days before any inactive signers cause the document to simply expire and be locked from further changes which means they'll no longer be able to sign the document. Use the drop-down menu for Expiration to set the amount of days after the last email reminder which will be 30 days by default though this setting is disabled (unchecked) by default, so you'd need to check the box to enable it first.


Custom Branded Toolbar and Email Notifications

The document toolbar and notification emails and can be custom branded with your avatar and color scheme.

Custom branded document toolbar example:

Custom branded email notification example:

You can modify these settings for your user from Settings > Profile 
The settings for an organization are located here: Organization > Settings > Profile


Signer Options

Receives Final Copy

When enabled, the signer will be emailed a PDF or download URL providing access to the final version of the document.  If there are multiple signers on the document, then the document is not finalized until all signers have finalized their changes. 

Signer Can Annotate

When enabled, the signer can freely markup the document with use of the complete annotation toolset. 

The annotation tools allowed by this feature include: Free Text, Pen, shape tools, Highlight, Stamp, Comment, Insert Image, and the "Sign" tools.  To learn more about annotation tools, here's a related document:  DocHub's Annotation and Editing Tools



Custom Email Message 

You can use a custom email message and subject line in the email notification to the signers by toggling the "Customize" button for the Message option in the Sign Request modal.


Signing Order

If there are multiple signers, you can decide whether to allow them all to sign at once, or you can enforce a signing order (sequential signing).  You can choose your preference from the Sign Request order dropdown.

One at a time

Selecting "One at a time" ensures while one signer is signing, no one else is able to make changes to the document.  We recommend this option for most multi-signer scenarios.

You can change the order of the signer queue by dragging the three dots on the left of the signer.

If this option is selected, email notifications will only be delivered only to the signer who's turn it is to sign.  Once a signer finalizes their changes, the next signer in the queue will be notified that it's his turn to sign until all parties have finalized their changes.

All at once

By selecting "All at once," all signers of the document will be notified and allowed to make changes to their assigned fields simultaneously.

We recommend this option for documents with multiple signers where each signer is only assigned to specific fields that cannot change the meaning of the document.  For example, this works well if only Signature and Initial type fields are assigned. 

We advise against this option if annotations are enabled for any signer.  Additionally, we advise against this option if text fields that can materially change the meaning of the contract are assigned to any user.

For more information about signing orders, see: Sign Requests: Signing Order


Manage and Audit

After sending a Sign Request, you can find it in the Sent section of your dashboard:  If the document is owned by an organization, it will appear in the organization's "Sent" dashboard.

You can view event history (Audit Trail) and make certain changes after sending a Sign Request from the document's Audit Page.  The Audit Page can be reached by right clicking the document on the dashboard, or from the file menu when looking at the document's url.

Document and Signer Overview and Actions

The top half of the audit page includes an overview of the Sign Request and Signers.  Various actions are available from the Document Actions and Signer Actions drop downs.

Document Actions

Use the Document Actions menu in the upper right corner of the Manage and Audit page to Make a Copy of the document, Void Sign Request, Destroy Document, or to Share or Send the document with anyone else.

Signer Actions

If you need to make changes to any of the signers or would like to send an email notification as a reminder to any of them, you can use the Signer Actions menus for each signer on the Manage and Audit page for your document. The button for Signer Actions will appear to the right of each signer that hasn't Finalized your document yet. To get there, you can open the document   and click on the button to Manage and Audit on the right side of the banner at the top. Each signer will have a Signer Actions button to the right of it which will open a drop-down menu with the following choices:

  • Send Reminder - sends another notification email to the signer which asks them to complete and sign the document. 

  • Reassign Email Address - If you want to change the signer to someone else for when you accidentally entered the wrong email address or had a typo or simply need a different person to sign. Once a signer has been reassigned, a notification email will be sent to them with a secure link to the document.

  • Remove Signer - This removes the signer entirely from the Sign Request document where they can no longer complete the fields that were assigned to them. 

Audit Trail

At the bottom of Audit page is the document's audit trail.  Here you can find a list of events related to the document. 

The delivery status of outbound email notifications will also appear within the audit trail.  If the recipient's server responds to DocHub servers with a successful delivery response, then "Delivered" will appear.  If the recipient's server indicates the message failed to go through, then "Error" or "Failed" may appear. 

Failed Email Deliveries

Upon a failed email delivery, DocHub will automatically send an email the Sign Request's sender.  The email will alert the sender of the delivery status and pass along the error message, as received from the recipient's server.

There are several reasons why an email would bounce and be returned undelivered, but it's usually caused by simply entering an incorrect email address (i.e. a typo) or the signer may have given you the wrong contact information by accident.  If this happens to one of your Sign Requests, you can verify which email address was used and then Change the Email Address for the signer which will resend the Sign Request to the different email address and any form fields on the document will be reassigned to the new email address instead.

To learn more about the audit page and what changes can be made after sending a sign request, see: How do I edit a Sign Request after sending?

Tip:  The Audit Page can be reached by appending "/audit" to the end of the document's URL.


Reusable Templates

If you plan to send the same PDF as a Sign Request more than once and would like to keep reusing the document, we recommend that you create a template which will create a new copy of the file every time you send a Sign Request so that the original remains the same (and can be edited after sending one), but you can also create a Sign Request from a regular document if you have a unique contract that you don't plan to reuse with other signers. To learn more, see:


Creating, Assigning Fields, Sending and Finalizing

For all Sign Requests in DocHub, you'll need to first add at least one field and assign a role to it and any other fields. A role is needed for each person who needs to sign or initial or fill out the document, and each role needs to be assigned to at least one field. We recommend that you designate the necessary form fields as "Required" to help ensure that your signer(s) definitely complete those fields before Finalizing the document.

Creating a Reusable Template

For a versatile master document where a new copy and URL is made for each Sign Request,  

  1. Open or upload a Template.
  2. Click on Edit Template.
  3. Select the type of field you want to add. - Use the vertical layout of button choices on the left side of your document to insert text, paragraph, checkbox, dropdown menu, signature, Initials, or Date/Time fields.
  4. Click anywhere on your document to insert the selected field type - You'll be able to move, resize, delete, and edit your fields later on. Add as many fields as you'd like. 
  5. Create a Role for each signer. - Use the Role tab on the right side to create roles that you can assign to the fields you've added to your document. There will already be a Client role that gets automatically created for any template. The role names are generic labels since a template is meant to be a master document that gets re-used. You won't need to enter a signer's specific information until you are ready to send a Sign Request. 
  6. Assign every field on your document to a specific role.  - All fields added to your document need a role assigned to them. Otherwise, you'll receive an error when sending it as a Sign Request. We recommend making them "Required" field(s) so the signer(s) can't Finalize the document without completing the field(s). Each role also needs at least one field that it's assigned to fill on your PDF. To assign a role to a field, select the field on your document to make it the active field (or it will already be active if you just added the field to your document). Selecting a field will change the color of the horizontal bar above the field from orange (inactive) to blue (active). Then use the Assignee section in the right panel on the Fields tab to select a role or person to assign to the active field. You'll see a checkbox above the Assignee list to make it a Required field (recommended). To assign all fields to the Client or any other role in a single click, the Field and Role tabs have a button and dropdown menu at the bottom to Assign all unassigned fields on the document to one role. 

    If you checked the box that you need to sign the document,  be sure to assign yourself, the Sender, to any of your fields. All roles need to be assigned at least one field or you'll receive an error when trying to send it as a Sign Request.  Then, any fields that are unassigned cannot be filled out by anyone
  7. Send your document as a Sign Request. - Once you are done adding and assigning all fields and roles, you're now ready to send:
  8. Click Send as Sign Request in the right panel while in Edit mode or in the Share window after clicking on Share or Send Dochub_UI_-_Share_or_Send_button.png.
  9. Enter an email address for each signer. 
  10. Review the settings and make any changes. (see the Customizing section below)
  11. Click Send Request

The new Sign Request copy will be added to your Sent section, and you'll be able to monitor its progress and the status of each signer on its Manage and Audit page which is covered in its own section below.


Creating a Single Use Document 

For a regular document type, You can follow the exact same steps as laid out above, but instead of creating and assigning generic roles to be assigned to specific individual(s) at the time of sending a new Sign Request, you assign each field to a specific person's email address.

  1. Open your document
  2. Open the Fields Manager by clicking on the Manage Fields DocHub_UI_-_Manage_Fields_button.png button on the left side of the Tool Bar
  3. Enter each signer's email address on the People tab on the right side which allows you to assign them to any fields you add. 
  4. Follow steps 3-11 in the section above.  

Since a regular document is not meant to be a master version where a new copy is made each time you request an e-signature, sending one as a Sign Request will convert the regular document into a single Rign Request and remove it from the Documents section and move it to your Sent section where you'll no longer be able to make any changes to the PDF. You can still make a copy of it by opening it and using the File menu DocHub_UI_-_File_menu_button.png > Actions Make a Copy, and you also have the option to convert a regular document into a template


Customizing your Sign Request

In the window before sending, you'll see some optional custom controls for the entire Sign Request and for individual signers that can be adjusted if needed. Here's a description of the ways you can customize it:

  • Signer Receives Final Copy (enabled by default) - click on the toggle switch DocHub_UI_-_Recieves_Final_Copy_switch.png next to a signer to set whether the signer receives an email with the final PDF attached after all signers have Finalized. Green means ON. 
  • Signer Can Annotate(disabled by default) - click on the toggle switch DocHub_UI_-_Can_Annotate_switch.png next to a signer to set whether they can use the Tool Bar to add annotations outside the fields assigned to them. Green means ON. 
  • Custom Subject and Body - click on Edit Message to customize the wording in the notification email that is sent to each signer. 
  • Signing Order - set to "One at a time" to enable a signing order. See the next section to learn more. 
  • Document Owner - select one of your organizations to send it from the organization instead of your individual account. 

Once a Sign Request is sent, you'll no longer be able to change any of these customization settings.   


Finalizing a Legally Binding Document 

Once a Sign Request has been Finalized, it becomes a legally binding document, and you'll receive an email with the finalized PDF attached as well as a finalized copy in your Sent box. The signer(s) will also be CC'd on the final email (unless you unchecked the box for the signer(s) to receive a final copy in the window when you sent the Sign Request).

In DocHub, the status labels for your finalized Sign Request will now show that it's been Finalized, and you'll see a green checkmark to the left of your signed document in your DocHub Sent section.

Before a signer can begin to fill out your document, they must "agree to use electronic records and signatures" which further backs up the legality of the contract, and DocHub also records all actions taken by all parties with a Sign Request. This detailed log includes a record of all annotation or signature events, IP addresses, geolocations, full names, email addresses, and more. This enhanced legal audit trail is explained more in our article about  How legally binding are PDFs signed in DocHub?.


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