Get Started with DocuSign eSignature: Basic Terminology

Welcome to DocuSign!

This helpful guide will define common terms that you’ll hear as a DocuSign eSignature administrator or user. For more information on getting started as a DocuSign Admin, please go here

Applies to: DocuSign eSignature ( Which version do I have? )

Accounts

Logical containers on the system issued to Senders that define settings, list users, and store envelopes. Log in to send or view signed documents.  User membership in an account is not needed to sign envelopes.

Account Administrators

Account Admins are the Senders’ technical points of contact responsible for configuring and managing their production accounts in the System. In particular, Account Administrators set up policies (e.g. password, document retention, etc.) and manage the DocuSign user memberships on their account. Learn more about getting started as a DocuSign eSignature administrator here

Document

A digital file that contains content to be reviewed and/or signed or initialed by one or more recipients. Documents are always encrypted while stored in the system and can be supplied through client devices, cloud storage systems, or additional document sources. DocuSign accepts almost all document types - for example .pdf, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .png, .xls - and you can store multiple documents in a single envelope.

Envelope

An envelope is a container or "package" that is used to send documents to recipients and manage transactions. Envelopes have statuses (i.e. sent, delivered, completed, voided) and typically contain documents, recipients, and tabs/fields. They also contain information about the sender, document-related metadata, and timestamps that indicate the progress of the delivery procedure. When an envelope is completed the DocuSign platform automatically generates a Certificate of Completion which details the full audit history of the transaction.

Recipient

Someone who receives an envelope and, depending on the settings, can sign the documents or add information where indicated by tabs/fields. Recipients do not need a DocuSign account to sign or participate in transactions, and there are seven (7) different recipient types available on the platform.

Sender

Senders are Users with account memberships responsible for creating, sending, and managing envelopes which are logical containers for all data in the System. In addition, Senders perform many actions to envelopes such as uploading documents, adding Recipients, defining routing orders, and placing fields on documents for Recipients. 

Tag/Field/Tab

A DocuSign Tag - also called a Field or Tab – is placed on the document(s) in an envelope and are visible to users during their signing session. They include text boxes, radio buttons, checkboxes, signature fields, etc and are used in several ways. First, they are used to indicate to a recipient where a signature or initials are required. Second, tabs can be used to show data or information to recipients, such as dates, company names, titles, etc. Third, tabs may be used as editable information fields where signers can add data to a document.

Template

A pre-set "cookie-cutter" envelope with specific documents, set recipient roles, tabs, and other business logic. Templates are reusable blueprints for any DocuSign workflow you do repeatedly- like sending the same document to different recipients for example. Templates can be simple one signer, one document workflows or they can be more complex transactions with multiple recipients, documents, tabs, and more. Additionally, Composite Templates allow you to easily combine multiple templates into a single envelope.  

Learn more about templates here.

Workflow

A defined sequence of steps and the recipients, documents, and settings that make up an envelope.

Use Case

A specific situation or category of processes in which DocuSign would provide benefit. A use case can be a single form or document, such as an NDA, or a set of documents composing a larger process, such as onboarding.

Sandbox

Sandbox accounts - also called demo or developer accounts - let you test our APIs for free. They are also the only place where you can create an Integrator Key, which is needed to go live. Sandbox accounts operate in the DocuSign demo environment, which is identical to production except that documents sent through demo are not legally binding and have test stamps on them. Sandbox accounts do not expire and have enterprise-level features enabled so you can test everything out before going live.

Sign up for a free developer Sandbox account here