How to Use DocuSign

Create fillable PDFs and easily get documents signed.

Man using computer to create a fillable form with a paper form beside him on the desk

Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images 

Forms and documents are a fact of life. But in the digital age, using paper forms is increasingly cumbersome and inconvenient.

DocuSign is the leading eSignature tool meant to resolve this difficulty. It allows individuals and companies to replace manual, paper-based document signing. It's secure, fast, and easy to sign, manage, and store documents in the cloud—all from one tool.

How DocuSign Works

DocuSign has a number of features and functions, including:

  • Upload and send: Upload your document, indicate who needs to sign it, place the correct fields, and send it to the respective parties.
  • Sign: You'll receive a link in your email asking for a signature. From here, you'll select the link, follow the tabs, and sign. DocuSign will send the document automatically.
  • Document management: You can see your document's status from the dashboard, store your documents online, and manage specific preferences such as branding and visibility.

To unlock all of DocuSign's features, you must have a monthly plan. These plans range from $10 for a personal account to $32 a month for a business professional account. If you only wish to use DocuSign to sign documents you receive, you can simply use the free DocuSign plan. There's also a 30-day free trial you can use to test the tool before you commit to a subscription.

How to Send a Document for Signature Using DocuSign

The first thing you'll want to know is how to send a document for signature using DocuSign. To get started, sign-up for the DocuSign free trial or a monthly account.

  1. On the home page, select Start Now to upload your document, or drag and drop the document file into the white upload box.

    DocuSign supports many file formats uploaded from your device, as well as cloud storage providers like Google Drive and Dropbox. The file size can be up to 25 MB.

  2. Once uploaded, select Next.

    Adding documents in DocuSign to send for signature

    If you're the only signer, you can select the checkbox next to I'm the only signer to skip ahead.

  3. Enter the recipient's name and email address. If you need to add multiple signees, select Add Recipient.

  4. Once all recipients are added, select Next.

  5. Place your signature fields by using the tools in the toolbar on the left side of your screen. Select Signature and place it in the spot where a signature is required.

    Using DocuSign to create fillable PDF form to send for signature
  6. When you've created all the fields you need, select Next. Here, you can change the email subject line and enter an email message to your recipient.

    You can also choose to set automatic reminders by selecting Send automatic reminders.

  7. When you're finished, send the document to your recipients by selecting Send.

How to Use DocuSign to Sign a Document

Have you received a document from another party asking for your signature via DocuSign? Signing the document is simple.

  1. Select Review Document in the email you receive from DocuSign.

    The signing process may differ slightly if you're a new user versus a returning user. DocuSign recommends watching their signing video or reading the how-to guide to familiarize yourself.

  2. Once the document opens, you must agree to sign electronically. Select I agree to use electronic records and signatures, then select Continue.

    Using DocuSign to sign a document from another party
  3. Select Start to the left of the document to start signing. This will show you all the fields required to complete your document.

  4. Select Sign. If you have used DocuSign before, you'll see your signature now in place. If you have not used DocuSign, follow the on-screen instructions to create a new signature.

    Signing a document using DocuSign
  5. Once your signature is in place, make sure everything looks right, then select Finish. You'll see a summary of the signature session, including the date you signed and the date the document was sent.

How to Create a Fillable PDF With DocuSign

You can easily create any fillable form you can imagine using DocuSign's tools. To get started, make sure you're logged into your DocuSign account.

  1. On the home page, upload your form. DocuSign will automatically convert the form into a PDF.

  2. Select Next once your file is uploaded.

    Using DocuSign to create new fillable PDF
  3. Add your recipients and select Next.

  4. On the Prepare screen, you can start creating your form using the fields in the toolbar on the lefthand side of the screen.

    Entering fields and more using DocuSign's PDF creator
  5. Select from the fields and add them into your form by selecting the area where you would like the field to be placed. With each field you select, you'll see additional options on the right side of the screen. For example, the Name field allows you to switch between full name and first name.

    Creating a fillable PDF form with DocuSign's field tools

    You can also add formulas, text boxes, drop-down menus, radio buttons, and more. They're all located in the toolbar on the left side of the screen.

  6. When your form is complete, select Next, change your email message if you wish, then select Send to send your document to the recipient(s).

  7. To save your form for future use, on the Manage screen, select the drop-down menu to the right of the document. Select Save as Template, fill out the details, then select Save. You'll now be able to see your form on your Template page.

    Viewing saved Templates in DocuSign

How to Fill out a Form Using DocuSign

The process for filling out a form is similar to signing a document using DocuSign.

  1. Select Review Document in the DocuSign email you received to get started.

  2. Select Continue to start filling out your form.

  3. Either select the fields you need to fill or select Start to allow DocuSign to guide you through the document, taking you to each section that requires a signature.

  4. Enter your information into the fields. You may also select any check boxes or options in the drop-down menus.

    Selecting a check box in a document using DocuSign
  5. When you're finished, select Finish. Your form is automatically sent back to the sender.