A mobile phone sits on top of a document as a woman uses her finger to sign a document on her phone.
Image: © Antonioguillem/Stock.adobe.com

Remote working tools: How to use DocuSign

5 Jun 2020

Remote working has led to a massive uptake in online tools such as DocuSign. Here are a few handy tips to help you use it.

Restrictions around the world have meant that much of the global workforce has had adapt to remote working and all the online and cloud-based solutions that come with that. This means becoming familiar with a whole host of tech tools.

While the basics of many of these tools are intuitive enough, there is likely to be more efficient ways to use them.

DocuSign is an e-signature tool and one of the many online solutions that has seen an increase in usage in recent months, causing the company’s stock to surge. DocuSign has also integrated with a number of other tools such as Salesforce, Microsoft and Google, with the aim of easing the electronic contract process.

DocuSign is relatively intuitive but, as with most online tools, it can take a little getting used to if you’re new to it. So, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you find your way around the e-signature tool.

What if you’re sent a DocuSign envelope?

If you’ve never used DocuSign before and you’re suddenly sent a contract through this online platform, you might be a little wary of it. Is an e-signature the same as a physical signature?

As a member of the EU, Ireland legally recognises e-signatures and has done since 2000 with the Electronic Commerce Act. Additionally, e-signature providers often feature additional security such as encryption, anti-tampering controls and a digital audit trail.

The DocuSign envelope you receive will come in an email most likely from someone you know via DocuSign, and will probably be a document you’re expecting to receive. However, if you’re suspicious or unsure, check the email it came from and contact the person in question, as their email address will also be in the email itself.

If the document is intended for you, simply click ‘Review Document’ and DocuSign will prompt you with where to sign. Once you click the signature area, you will be prompted to choose a signature and add it to the document. Then you can simply click ‘Finish’ and you will receive a copy of the completed document.

Setting up a DocuSign account

If you’re planning to use DocuSign to send contracts and other documents, you will need to sign up to an account. However, the people you’re sending the contracts to will not need their own account to sign it.

Accounts with DocuSign are paid for on a tiered system, starting from $10 per month for a single user to be able to send up to five contracts per month. Higher levels allow you to collaborate on documents with comments, automate reminders and add your brand. You can also avail of a 30-day free trial before signing up to an account.

How to send a document

When you get started with DocuSign, you can choose your own signature from a list of pre-existing templates or you can draw or upload your own signature.

You can then create an ‘envelope’ to send. This way, you can include additional documents such as terms and conditions, an agreement summary or any other documents you wish to send along with the contract you would like to be signed.

You can upload these documents in a variety of formats including PDF, Word and Excel. If you regularly send the same batch of documents, you can create and save a template envelope to reduce the uploads and amendments you have to make each time.

Once you upload the document, you can add the recipients that need to sign it. If your document has more than one recipient, you can also set a signing order, so that each recipient is sent the documents after the previous person has completed their action.

On the document itself, you can set different fields anywhere on the document, from full names to signatures and initials. You can also add checklist boxes and dropdown menus, draw lines through sections that aren’t necessary and create custom fields.

When there are multiple people who need to sign or initial sections, you can toggle between the signatories on the top left so that the document will direct each person to the right place in the document. Each person’s sections are colour coded to show who has to sign where.

Once you send the document, you will be notified when recipients open and view the contract, and once all parties have signed, they will all receive a copy of the completed document for their records.

Additional tips

If you make any amendments to the standard contract, such as crossing out a section or including any additional notes, add an initial box for the other parties so that you make the changes as clear as possible and give them a chance to sign off on those amendments.

Once you’ve prepared your document, you can preview it as each recipient. It’s important to double-check everything at this point to make sure the information is correct and the necessary signature and initial boxes are in the right place.

In line with data privacy, consider the data you’re collecting and make sure it’s absolutely necessary before you ask for it if it’s more than a signature.

Tell the recipients in advance that you will be sending the envelope via DocuSign. This is especially important for those who have not used the service before, so they know to expect the document when it comes in.

Whether you’re someone with a DocuSign account or someone who has been asked to sign something through DocuSign, always be wary of the danger of phishing scams. Many hackers try to exploit the use of online tools by impersonating well-known companies to entice people to click on emails that appear trustworthy.

Last month, a new phishing attack acting as DocuSign was discovered by Abnormal Security, and with so many new users to the platform, it’s important to be extra vigilant.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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