General Questions about Electronic Signatures and eSignature
Who can use eSignature?
Any faculty or staff member with a valid University Computing Account may use the service to for business-related purposes. Student accounts with signing permission are also available. To request permission for student employees to send envelopes for signature, a faculty or staff member from their department can contact the 24/7 IT Help Desk at 412-624-HELP (4357).
What documents are supported?
Use eSignature to sign virtually any type of document: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, .txt, and more. eSignature works with your documents, and is integrated into many of the tools and business systems you already use, including Microsoft Office 365 (Microsoft Outlook, Word, and SharePoint), Box.com, and Microsoft OneDrive.
How much does it cost to use eSignature?
eSignature is provided as an enterprise service, there is no cost to the individual or department.
Do people who sign documents need eSignature account?
No, anyone with a valid email address can receive an envelope and sign a document. After signing a document, you are prompted to create a free DocuSign account.
DocuSign accounts for external users are also available here.
Can I change the default notifications that I am getting from eSignature?
The default notification for envelope status produces a lot of email. It is possible to reduce, or even eliminate, these notifications. To change the default notifications, go to Manage Email Notifications, select My Preferences, and change your notifications to meet your specific needs.
Can I send a document to someone outside of the University?
Yes, but keep in mind that eSignature is to be used for business purposes only.
How do I prevent documents from being returned incomplete?
The best way to prevent a document from being returned incomplete is to make all of the fields required where you are expecting input from a signer or signers. The envelope will not be able to move forward until all required fields are completed by each signer.
Can I send the same document to many individuals at once?
If you need to send a single document to many individuals, use the Add Bulk Recipient button on the Send window. It's similar to a Word mail-merge. You will be prompted to upload a CSV file containing the data to merge into the document. It is best to prepare such documents in advance and upload them as Templates from the Manage window, because you need to place the tags and name them with the same names as the headers in your CSV file. Full details on bulk sending is available in the Bulk Send for one or more users>.
Where do I find my eSignature account number?
First log into your eSignature account. Your account number is located in the upper right corner of the eSignature Console.
Which Web browsers does eSignature support?
Please visit the System Requirements> for up-to-date supported browser information.
How do I manage my eSignature identity? (Change my picture, signature, and personal information)
For information on how to update your Digital ID, please visit Managing My Digital ID>.
How secure are documents that are stored in eSignature?
eSignature offers bank-grade security and operations. Learn more about document security>.
Where are my documents stored?
As long as your eSignature account is active, the envelopes in your account will be stored in eSignature indefinitely.
*Important Note: Information Technology recommends that you download and save your documents to your department’s preferred repository. Once envelopes are moved to the deleted folder, they are purged at midnight the same day and cannot be recovered.
How do I download and save a completed document?
eSignature aggregates all of your uploaded files into a PDF for a secure signing experience. You add files in any of our many supported file formats>, such as Word documents, spreadsheets, or images, and eSignature brings them all together into a single, tamper-sealed PDF. View the document image directly in the application, or download the PDF file for viewing, sharing, and storing.
When you download a document from eSignature, it presents the current state of your document. Only completed documents show the signing information. All of the completed signing fields are included on the PDF. For incomplete documents, the PDF includes only the files that you added to the document; none of the signing fields are visible on the PDF.
To download your document:
- Click the Download icon at the top of the view.
- Select Separate PDFs or Combined PDF. Separate PDFs gives you a zip file containing all of the files in the eSignature document as individual PDFs.
- The selected file is downloaded to your local Downloads folder.
Where do I go if I have questions about eSignature?
When logged into eSignature, click on the question mark in the top right corner to access online support and training materials. Contact the 24/7 IT Help Desk at 412-624-HELP (4357) for assistance.
Is there a maximum file size or a maximum number of recipients for an envelope?
The maximum total file size for an envelope is 25 MB. There is no maximum number of recipients for an envelope.
What is an electronic signature?
An electronic signature is defined by the Federal ESIGN Act, as an “electronic sound, symbol or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” All 50 states have laws that define electronic signatures in substantially the same way.
What are electronic signatures used for?
Electronic signatures are used for many kinds of documents and transactions, for both personal and business use. Some examples include contracts and agreements, loans and leases, forms and orders, and many more. eSignature offers services customized to the needs of the customer, from individuals to enterprises.
How are electronic signatures better than handwritten signatures?
Paper processing, printing, filing, mailing, and fax.
Overnight shipping costs extravagant.
Paper free processing.
Delivery over internet eliminates shipping cost.
Delivery of mail may take up to several weeks.
Missed form or lost paperwork creates further delays.
Often requires the presence of a notary.
Mobile, anywhere, anytime access.
All fields must be filled before document can be signed, leading to less “no-good” documents.
Tampering – Backdating, alterations, or forgery.
High possibility for human error in data entry or copying.
Encryption and audit trail ensures documents are tamper-evident.
Unalterable capture of signing data; electronic storage.
Are electronic signatures legal?
Yes, electronic signatures> are legally binding in the United States. There are two Acts that establish this legality of electronic signatures – the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN, 2000) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA, 1999). Both ESIGN and UETA establish that electronic records and signatures carry the same weight and legal effect as traditional paper documents and handwritten signatures. A document or signature cannot be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form. Learn more about how eSignature warrants both federal ESIGN and UETA compliance>.
Security and Technical Requirements
Using eSignature has been approved by the University of Pittsburgh's IT Security and Policy team. Best practices include double-checking the names and email addresses of recipients, not forwarding eSignature notifications that request your signature, and not downloading signed forms from eSignature unless the laptop or desktop is encrypted. Documents sent via eSignature are encrypted both in transit and at rest.
eSignature is 100 percent legally-binding and provides full document encryption, a tamper-proof audit trail, redundant and geo-dispersed data centers, and is fully compliant with the ESIGN Act. You can learn more about eSignature’s security here>.
Getting Started with eSignature
How can I begin to use eSignature?
To use eSignature, visit My Pitt (my.pitt.edu), click DocuSign on the right-hand side of the page.
What mobile devices can be used?
eSignature can be used from an iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows 8 device if you have the DocuSign app installed. At this time, signing documents is the only eSignature feature available for mobile devices. Other functionality such as sending or managing documents is not available. Please see Mobile Downloads>.
Sending a Document in eSignature
How do I send a new document?
To learn how to upload and send a document, see How do I send a document?>
How do I allow eSignature to send documents stored in Dropbox or Google Drive Office 365, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive?
See Give Access to Your Cloud Storage>.
How do I create a template?
To create templates in eSignature select Templates, then NEW. A template allows you to create a standard document where recipient roles, signing information, and commonly used fields can be set. Templates are helpful if you frequently send the same or similar documents.
See the User Guide for Templates> or watch the Using Templates> video.
What is a field?
eSignature fields are locations on a document where the recipient needs to take an action and to provide information for the recipient. Some examples include: Signature, Date Signed, Radio Button, and Check Box. See the information about field types>.
How do we make a template ADA Compliant?
Instructions can be found here: using-the-accessibility-support-feature>.
Can a template owner be changed?
Yes. Users send a request through the 24/7 IT Help Desk and ask for the eSignature administrator to change ownership of a template. This is especially beneficial when someone leaves the University or goes on extended leave. Note: make certain to state the Template Name, original template owner, and who should be the new owner when completing the Help Request.
How do I add who needs to sign?
See: Sending Documents> and How to add recipients>.
Can I route a document to different signers depending on the document's data?
Yes, DocuSign conditional routing allows you to configure rules to automatically route envelopes to different recipients based on envelope data. To learn more, see the Docusign's eSignature User Guide >.
What do I do if I have problems uploading a document to eSignature?
Some “Fillable form” and “Active XFA Form” PDF files will not upload properly for use with eSignature. To work around this difficulty:
- Fill out the form in Adobe Acrobat.
- Print it to a PDF file (chosen from the Print menu in Acrobat).
- Upload the “printed” file to eSignature.
PDF files larger than 5 MB are generally not safe for use with eSignature. In Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can use Save As to save the file as a Reduced Size PDF or as an Optimized PDF, both of which will allow you to reduce the file size.
How do I know where a document goes after I finished signing it?
You can view the routing status and order of a document by logging in to the eSignature Service via My Pitt (my.pitt.edu).
- Click the Manage tab at the top of the Home window.
- Select Inbox.
- Select (single-click) the envelope that you want to know about.
Signing a Document in eSignature
How do I sign a document?
When someone sends you a document for your electronic signature, you first receive an email from eSignature sent on behalf of the sender.
For instructions on how to sign the document, see How Do I Sign a Document?>
Note: The first time you sign an eSignature document the process is slightly different from your subsequent signatures. If you're signing for the first time, click on the “(NEW)” links for the correct instructions. For instructions for subsequent signings, choose the links labeled (PREVIOUS).
How do I know who signed?
Use the Manage tab in eSignature to check the status of signatures and envelopes.
Managing Documents in eSignature
How do I view my document?
The Manage tab allows you to view your envelopes and documents.
- Under Envelopes, view envelopes that are in your Inbox, Sent, Draft, and Deleted folders.
- Under Search Folders, view documents that are Action Required, Waiting for Others, Expiring Soon, and Completed.
- Click Document.
How to check document status?
Use the Manage tab in eSignature to check document status. Check the status using the Search Envelopes feature, which is located in the upper right-hand corner.
To learn more, see document status>.
How do I download or print a document?
View documents directly in eSignature or you can download the PDF file for viewing, sharing, and printing.
- To view your document: From the Manage section in eSignature, select the document that you want to download or print.
- To download your document: click the Download icon and select on of the following options:
- Combined Document to open a PDF file version of your documents. You can view and save the PDF from the window.
- Archive of all Documents to save all of your documents as a zip file. Follow the download instructions for your browser.
- To print your document: click the Print icon.
Note: When you download or print a PDF from eSignature, it presents the current state of your document. Only completed documents show the signing information.
What reports are available?
eSignature's reporting provides an easy way for users and account administrators to see information about their account. Reports are available from the Reports section in eSignature.
To learn more, see Using Reports>.