Within this guide, you will find the recommended first steps for getting your Adobe Sign account configured and ready to send transactions.
Below are two tabs, one for users of the system and another for account administrators. On each tab, you will find a list of features to configure, and just to the right of the feature name are the levels of service they apply to.
We recommend that all users configure their personal user ID first, and then if you happen to be the account admin also, proceed to the Admin tab and configure the account settings.
Pro accounts are single-license accounts, so by default the single user is also the account admin.
Verify your profile information — All users
When you first log in to Adobe Sign, take a minute to review your personal user information. This information is used in several templates, so it’s important to ensure it is correct.
- Mouse over your name in the upper right corner to open the menu, and click My Profile
The profile page shows the specific values that Adobe Sign will use when personalizing any of your transactions. Of particular interest are:
- Your full name – Used in email communications and for your default typeset signature
- Your job title – Automatically populates if you ever have a Title field to fill in
- Your company name – Reflected in email communications, this should be the full legal company name
- Time Zone - Time/Date stamps will be cast in your time zone for better clarity when running reports.
If you need to adjust any of the content, click the Edit button, make the required changes, and then Save your edits.
Define your signature — All users
Adobe Sign allows for three signature styles, depending on your personal or business requirements:
- Script-like font: The default value and the favored style currently. A font is applied to your name to achieve the appearance of a handwritten signature.
If this option is your choice, then there's nothing more to do!
- Biometric: Draw your signature with a mouse, a stylus, or your finger! Drawing your signature on a tablet with your finger gives the best overall result.
If this option is your choice, sign a transaction by drawing your name and then saving it. Biometric signatures can only be saved during a signing event, so you may want to use the Only I Sign feature on the Home tab to gain access to a signature event.
When creating a Biometric signature, don't forget to check the Save as my signature box at the upper-right when you get a nice-looking version.
- Signature Image: If you have an actual image of your signature, you can upload that to the system, and Adobe Sign applies that image as your signature when you sign. To upload an image of your signature, log in to Adobe Sign and navigate to Personal Preferences > My Signature.
If you opt to use either Biometric or an image for your signature, make sure to set up your initials also!
Configure personal events/alerts — Enterprise Premium
For power users who really want to stay in touch with their transactions, team users can configure event notifications, and enterprise users can configure both events and alerts.
To get to your Events/Alerts page, navigate to Personal Preferences > My Events/Alerts.
Some quick definitions:
Events: Actions that happen to a transaction (Sending, Viewing, Signing, and so on).
Alerts: Expected actions that don’t happen within a specified time frame (not viewed in eight hours, viewed but not signed in three hours, and so on).
Both events and alerts can be configured to notify in two ways. You have the option to select neither, one, or both by checking the configuration options. These options are:
E-mail: Selecting this option sends you an e-mail every time the event or alert takes place. Depending on your volume, this option can be “spammy,” so we recommend setting this option with your e-mail volume in mind.
Event: Events are flagged to show on your Home tab (in the Events/Alerts section) and will be listed in any reports that you create on the Events/Alerts page.
Also notice that there are two tabs for these events/alerts.
My Events/Alerts is the set of options for transactions where you are the sender.
Reporting can be configured at the bottom of the page to send you a summary of the events you have checked, and that report can be sent once a week, every work day, or every day of the week, as you like.
Shared Events/Alerts are the settings for any other user ID that has shared their account to you. To configure Shared Events/Alerts, navigate to Personal Preferences > Shared Events/Alerts.
Define your personalized footer — Enterprise Premium
Enterprise-level accounts may allow users to create a personal footer, like a signature file in e-mail.
If the option is enabled by your Account Admin, you can set it in Personal Preferences > My Email Footer.
If you do not see the option, your account administrator can enable it at the account level.
This footer is placed near the bottom of your transaction e-mails, but above any account level footers.
Hopefully the configuration of your personal user ID has gone well and you are ready for the larger, account-wide decisions.
The below descriptions are relatively long, but getting your account set up properly will ensure that your senders and signers have the smoothest time adopting your process, and will reduce the questions that inevitably come with change after deployment.
Note: Not all the options available to you are fully covered, so contact Support if you have any questions.
Set up External Archive — All plans
Like backing up your computer or phone, it’s a good idea to keep copies of your signed agreements. Instead of downloading the agreements one by one from the Manage page, the External Archive can send a copy of signed agreements to an alternate email address, an Evernote account or a Box account.
How to set it up
Log in as an Account Admin, and navigate to: Account > Account Settings > External Archive
To have copies of your account’s agreements send to an alternate email address, enter that email address into the Send an extra copy… field and click the Save Changes button.
The External Archive field has a limit of 255 characters. If you need to send to more people than can fit, try using a distribution list!
To have a copy sent to either Evernote or Box, click the corresponding click here link and specific instructions will pop up in a new window.
Configure signature preferences — All plans
There are many options to consider with these settings, so let’s dig in!
Navigate to Account > Signature Preferences
The first two settings control the automated formatting of the line that the signature sits on, and the signature data that is inserted under the line:
- Use well-formatted signatures and initials
- Enabling this places the line and signature content under it
- Disabling this places just the signature without the markings that indicate the signature is electronic
- Dynamically adjust line below the signature and initials
- Enable this to dynamically adjust the line under the signature to be just a few pixels longer than the actual signature/initials
- Disabling this prints the full line for the length of the original signature field
The next section controls how your recipients can apply their signature. In general, unless you have a specific business purpose to constrain the options, we recommend allowing recipients to apply their signature in the manner they prefer.
There are three options:
- Typing their name and initials - Typing in the name is the easiest process for most signers as it requires no extra action. The recipient types in their name and a script-like font is applied
- Dynamically choose signing font - There are multiple script-like fonts available in the Adobe Sign system. By default they are applied in a fixed order. If this option is enabled, then the start point for the font used is randomized
- Drawing a handwritten signature and initials on the screen using mouse, stylus or their finger - If this option is enabled, recipients will have the option to physically draw their signature
- Uploading an image of their signature and initials - If enabled, recipients will be allowed to upload an image of their signature from their local system
This section of options dictates if your recipients can use an existing saved signature (Biometric and Image-based signatures are saved). If you elect to disallow use of saved signatures, the recipient will have to explicitly type, draw or upload their signature, depending on the types of signature you allow.
The options are:
- All recipients - If selected, all recipients will be allowed to use their saved signatures
- Internal recipients - This option will allow only the recipients that also exist as users in your Adobe Sign account to use their saved signatures
- No one - Disallows use of a saved signature by all recipients
There is an additional check box in this section:
- Allow users in my account to upload an image and save to their profile as their signature and initials - Enabling this option will allow users in your Adobe Sign account to upload an image of their signature in their Personal Preferences section.
Company and host name setup — All plans
Adding your company branding is an excellent way to customize Adobe Sign for the users in your account, as well as your signers.
Company name and URL hostname
In this section, you will set the company name and a hostname for your account. These may seem basic, but they will personalize your account.
These two settings are Account wide and cannot be adjusted at the Group level
Log in as an Account Admin and navigate to: Account > Account Settings > Account Setup
The value you enter into this field will be displayed in all email correspondence from Adobe Sign. This is also automatically populated into Company Name fields for your users when they need to sign a document.
By default, Adobe Sign permits users to edit their personal settings, and this includes the Company Name value for their individual user. If you would prefer to install one immutable Company Name to all users, you can check the Set company name for all users in account box.
Setting the hostname for your account changes the URL your users log in to and the URL where agreements are hosted for your signers.
Upload your logo — Team, Business, and Enterprise
Branding is important! Your customers want to see your logo on the transactions you send out, and by uploading your logo, you will brand all the e-mails that Adobe Sign sends for your transactions.
JPEG, GIF, and PNG images are supported, with PNG having the best results in general.
Log in as an Account Admin and navigate to: Account > Account Settings > Account Setup > Upload Logo.
Click the Upload button and navigate to the image you want to use. Keep in mind, images of the stated dimensions (60 pixels tall and 200 pixels wide) work the best.
Once you’ve chosen an image, the logo will be displayed to the right of the Upload button:
Configure Global Settings
The Global Settings section of the Account tab is one of the more feature-rich sections, and all the settings are use-case specific.
Below we briefly describe each option and explain our recommendation, but it’s entirely likely that your use case will vary from "most common usage."
Navigate to Account > Account Settings > Global Settings.
- Attach a CSV with form data to the sender's signed agreement e-mails
If you are using forms and want to get a CSV of the field data for every signed document, then check the box. However, individual CSVs for every transaction can be a bit unwieldy.
If you need to collect data or push data back into your CRM, then you might be better served taking the time to build out an API solution.
- Limited Document Visibility
This feature allows you to reveal designated files in your transaction only to your various signers. Getting the most out of Limited Document Visibility requires that you have a strong understanding of your signature flow relative to the documents you are sending and how you attach those documents.
If you are thinking that you want to send a large, multi-file transaction to multiple signers and you want to hide parts of that document from one or more signers, then this setting is for you! Here’s a quick video if you are still undecided.
- Certify copy of the documents
Enabling this feature certifies that all PDF documents delivered to or downloaded from Adobe Sign will include an Adobe CDS certificate. Documents with CDS provide a visible indicator that the document has not been tampered with.
You have the option to apply CDS to copies delivered to your internal agents, your external signers, everyone, or no one.
CDS will prevent you from removing the security of the final PDF, so if you need to manipulate your copies of the final document (break them into files, add a processing stamp, etc.), then you will want to remove the CDS for internal recipients.
- Attach a PDF copy of the signed document in e-mails sent
Once your transaction is complete, everyone involved will get a copy by default. This setting allows you to change that so that copies will be sent to internal only, external only, both, or neither.
How you set this setting will likely depend on the nature of your documents. If you are collecting sensitive information, it may be worthwhile not to e-mail out the signed copies. Doing this is the best option for security, but it introduces the possibility that your customers will contact you for a copy of the document. In these cases, we recommend having the signer register with Adobe Sign for a free account, and pull a copy direct from Adobe Sign.
- Attach audit report to completed documents
If you need audit reports attached to the copy of the signed document we e-mail to you, then enable this at least for the Sender.
- Merge multiple documents into one document after signing
When you upload multiple files for one transaction, Adobe Sign concatenates these files into one PDF before sending it for signature.
This setting dictates whether your Signed and Filed e-mails contain that one large PDF, or whether the document is split back into several files.
This setting applies only to the copy attached to the Signed and Filed e-mail. Copies downloaded from Adobe Sign later will always be one inclusive PDF.
- Send an extra copy of every signed agreement to these e-mail addresses
It’s the External Archive again, but this setting can be configured at the group level (for enterprise customers), which allows you to route completed Sales contracts to Accounting, or completed NDAs to the Legal team (for example).
- Upload Signed Document
If you allow signers to print the document, sign it, and fax it back, you should enable this setting. Someday, someone will print off a document and mail it to you, and if this setting isn’t enabled, you won’t be able to close out the transaction in Adobe Sign.
- Twitter Integration
Let your people broadcast their success! Send out a Twitter notification every time you complete a transaction.
- Delegation for users in my account
Delegation in this case means permitting a different signer (e-mail address) to sign the document in your stead. Delegating does not remove access from the original party, it just grants another user authority to sign.
In general, we advocate for making the signing process as easy as possible, and that means allowing delegation. However, some use cases have a strong need for only a designated party to sign.
Keep in mind that the setting refers to users in your Adobe Sign account (not everyone at your company). It’s possible that your signers will not have Adobe Sign user IDs in your account, and those parties would not be covered by this setting.
- Authority to Sign
This setting dictates what the default access to sign a document is for the users in your Adobe Sign account.
In general we recommend allowing everyone to sign by default. If you intend to use Adobe Sign for any HR-type purpose, you definitely need to let everyone sign.
If you elect to deny everyone signing privileges by default, you will need to explicitly enable the signers that do need to sign.
Tip!: As the Admin, you are not grandfathered in as a signer. So if you need to sign documents, and you are denying signing by default, the next thing you should do is go to Users and Groups, click your e-mail address, and enable your signing privileges.
- Delegation for users outside my account
Just like the above setting, but this feature is specific for users that are not in your Adobe Sign account.
- Set a time zone to use for agreements created by users in this account
This sets the time zone for the time/date stamps on your transactions.
- Group admin-related settings
Enterprise customers can have groups, and if you have groups, you might want to have admins for just those groups.
These two settings will allow you to permit (or not) group admins to add new users or change their group level settings (which are pretty much the same settings you see in the Global Settings section).
Adobe Sign works on a parent–child relationship model, and groups are the child objects of the account. This means that a new group will inherit the account properties. It also means that changes at the group level will override the account-level settings.
Configure Send page
Send settings are the features that are exposed to your sending agents on the Send tab. This section is dedicated to all the configurations that are available on that page.
Much like the Global settings, these are very use-case specific.
It’s also a bit long, so grab a beverage and navigate to Account > Account Settings > Send Settings.
- New Send Experience
This setting will enable the new Send experience. You can also allow users to switch between the new and classic Send experience.
- Show Send Page after logging in
This setting will route your users to the Send tab after they log in to Adobe Sign (instead of the Home tab).
If you are experiencing annoying lag when first logging in, it’s likely because of the scripts that run on the Home tab to make those cool reporting dials reflect accurate data. If your users would rather get right into the sending process and not review their Home tab data, this is the feature for you!
- Send Documents for Approval
Does your workflow require the approval of one or more people, but not their signature? If so, enable this feature.
Forms can be designed to require an approver to fill in field information and still not sign the document.
- Attaching Documents
This setting enables all the various channels that permit a user to attach a document. If you have a strong need for version control over your documents, then you will likely want to disable everything except for the library where the current versions of your forms are.
- Auto-Fill Document Name
Automatically filling in the document name is a nice time saver, but keep in mind that the document is going to adopt the name of the first file attached. So if you enable this, you should seriously consider also allowing the sender to edit the document name. Just in case.
This setting allows users to set external signers' signing language on he Send page.
- Message Templates
A great time saver for high-volume agents. The message templates will allow you to set a new default message and further define a large array of other custom message templates. If you find that you are sending the same documents with the same message multiple times a day, take some time to configure this.
- Private Messages to Recipients
It allows sends to include a private message to each recipients.
- Allowed Signature Types
By default, only e-signature is enabled. However, there are still a fair number of people in this world that want to print and fax back their documents. If you might have some customers that feel this way, enable the Fax Signature option.
- Sender Signature Settings
These settings are designed for cases in which the sender will be the countersigner for the document. And if you are allowing senders to countersign, it’s worth setting up the defaults per your workflow just to minimize the amount the senders have to adjust in each transaction.
If your process requires that you set up reminders, this setting allows you to configure the reminder iteration and message, further reducing the cycle time for your senders.
- Signed Document Password Protection
With this enabled, the user would have to enter a password before they could open the signed PDF or view it online.
It’s a little friction, but good security.
- Signer Identity Verification for Signers in My Account
Adobe Sign allows for several second-factor authentication methods for signers. Depending on your use case, you may want to allow one or more of these options, and you may or may not want to allow senders to pick their method.
Any or all can be selected, but if you want to enable Phone Authentication, you will first need to enable Allow senders to set signer identity verification options per recipient.
- Document Expiration
If your use case includes "windows of opportunity," like a special price that is only available for the next XX days, then you can define that window and force the document to expire if not signed in the required time.
If you do enable this option, it is recommended that you consider enabling the option Allow modification of expiration settings after document is sent. You don’t have to extend the deadline, but it’s nice to have the option.
- New Preview and Authoring Experience
It enables the new Authoring experience. It also allows users to switch between the new and classic Authoring experiences.
- Preview, position signatures or add form fields
If you find that you are adding fields to documents on the fly, then you may want to enable the drag-and-drop field tool by default. However, if you are working with version-controlled documents, you will likely want to remove the option for users to adjust fields.
- Signing Order
Most documents (that we see) are signed in a sequential order, and that is the default value. However, if you find that your most common workflow leverages a parallel signature process where everyone is asked to sign at the same time, you can configure that here.
You also have the option to allow the sender to pick which workflow is best for their transactions if you have a foot in both worlds.
Upload your e-mail header/footer
Navigate to Account > Email Settings and you will find:
Email Footer — This is the account-wide setting that places a text message at the bottom of your e-mails. This is a great place include some marketing information or legal notices.
Allow users to have their own email footer — This setting allows individual users to set up their personal signature content
Header & Footer Images — E-mail headers and footers are much like logos, but larger. This really makes your branding prominent on your e-mails and lets your customers know who the e-mails are from.
Just as with logos, JPEG, GIF, and PNG images are supported.
Use an image that is 200 pixels tall and up to 600 pixels wide.
You will see a link for each option to Upload a new image. This allows you to browse for your image on your local system. Click Save.
Configure security settings
Adobe Sign security settings match the general password security setting you will find for any application that you may have managed — with a couple of oddball document settings.
To set up your security, navigate to Account > Account Settings > Security Settings.
- Single Sign-on Settings
Do your users authenticate from either an Adobe or Google user base? If so, you should enable the appropriate setting and disable any that you would not expect to use.
- Remember-me Settings
It allows remembering the user's login details for a specified time period. Choose the time period from the drop-down list.
- Login Password Policy
This setting sets the parameters for how frequently the password has to be reset, and for how many historic passwords Adobe Sign will remember to prevent recurring passwords from being installed.
- Login Password Strength
The required strength of your passwords is key to ensuring your account security, and we recommend setting this value as high as your users will tolerate.
- PDF Encryption Type
The key to PDF encryption levels is having a good idea of what version of Reader your signers are likely to have installed. The more advanced encryptions require more modern versions of Reader.
Generally speaking, if your target signer is marginally tech savvy, then you can fairly safely set this value to 128-bit AES. Acrobat 7 was released at the beginning of 2005, and most people have upgraded since then.
It enables you to allow Uncertified partner applications to access data from this account. Also, allow users who aren't account administrators to develop applications that use the Adobe Sign API.
- Allowed IP Ranges
If you have concerns about external parties attempting to access your users, restricting the IP range is an excellent defensive measure. Just make sure no one has to work from home or on a mobile device off your owned networks.
- Account Sharing
Account Sharing is a great feature for managing agents that report to you, but it may be wise to control who they share their accounts to. Many admins elect to only create account shares when creating new users, and the disable the account-wide setting.
- Signer Identity Verification
Should your users have to log in prior to signing a document? Depending on your use case, this might be a good security check.
- Agreement Signing Password
It allows you to apply a password policy when protecting document signing or viewing.
- Agreement Signing Password Strength
Specify a password strength.
- Knowledge Based Authentication
You can restrict number of attempts signers are allowed to validate their identity before cancelling the agreement.
Enable API if needed — Enterprise Only
Are you going to use the API? If you have a developer and want to integrate Adobe Sign into your existing CRM system (or anything else API enabled), then you may want to consider the option.
Adobe Sign supports two types of API: SOAP and REST.
Navigate to Account > Adobe Sign API.
Using Adobe Document Cloud APIs to access user data requires OAuth Tokens.
You can create an integration key if you have a legacy application that does not support OAuth.
If you do not see the link to create an integration key, contact Support.
Also on this page you will find
- The WSDL link
- The OAuth Tokens link
- A link to the Method Documentation
- And a link to the Developers Kit (once the API is activated)
Additionally, once the API is enabled, you will see a new link to the left for the API Request Log. This log will show you the inbound XML from your API calls, and can be invaluable in troubleshooting if you have any code-based issues.
The REST API is available through the API Applications option.
Once on the page, click the Create a new application link, give your application a name, and click the Create Application button.
Your new Application ID and Secret will generate immediately and display.
Configure groups — Business and Enterprise
Breaking up your users into functional groups can be hugely helpful, especially if you have different signature requirements or reporting structures that need to be observed.
Once on the Group page, click the + button at the upper-right corner of the page and enter the new group name into the field.
There is also a link to configure the settings for the group - click the row to see the Group Settings link. These settings nearly identical to the Global settings you configured at the account level, but because groups are the child object of the account, the group settings will override the account settings.
You will also notice that the group name is always updateable, so if you have to change group names, it's no problem at all.
Add users — Team, Business and Enterprise
Finally, it's time to add users!
There are two methods for creating new users in Adobe Sign:
One at a time
Bulk creation via CSV
Fill in the Email Address, First Name, and Last Name fields, and then select a group to assign the user to (if needed).
You will also see a check box that says View Their Agreements. This option will create an account share from the new user to your Admin user. If you need to monitor your new agent’s transactions, then check this box.
If you do not, you can still create a share, you just have to use the Account Sharing feature.
Once you create the user, an e-mail will be sent to the address you provided requesting passwords to be set, and once that is done, the user is active and ready to send their first document!
The bulk creation method is here: go to Account > Users, and then click the + button in the toolbar displayed next to the search box. In the Create dialog box, click Create users in bulk.
The process is to create a CSV with at least an e-mail address and first / last name columns. For exact format, see the sample CSV file - click the download sample CSV file link. Prepare your file in the specified format. Once the file is ready, click Browse and select the file.
The one drawback to this process is that you cannot create the share from the user to your admin account.