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External signatures in a workflow with Adobe Sign

Adobe Sign can be used as a part of a FileHold workflow with documents stored in the library. This feature is dependent on the customer contracting directly with Adobe for their e-signature services.

When one or more documents, such as an agreement, needs to be signed they are sent to Adobe Sign from a FileHold workflow task. The workflow template must be set up with an "External signature" activity in order to send a document to Adobe Sign. External signature participants are called "Authors" in the workflow template. See Creating Workflow Templates for more information.

Once the document has been sent to Adobe Sign, Adobe will send an email notification with a link to Adobe Document Cloud / eSign Services to the recipients. Once the agreement is signed, Adobe will automatically send the signed documents to the FileHold server. These signed documents will be checked in as new versions of the originals. The workflow task is automatically completed once the signature is received so there are no additional steps for the sender.

FileHold provides a report of the Adobe Sign transmissions where issues can be reconciled or documents can be synchronized with Adobe if there was a communication problem. FileHold also provides an External signing report that can be monitored if there were any technical issues. The FileHold server must be accessible by the Adobe server in order to update the signed documents. In other words, the FileHold server must be internet accessible in order to communicate with Adobe Sign.

If the agreement is a PDF and it does not have the allow document assembly and allow changes properties enabled, the document is not able to be processed by Adobe Sign.

Workflow initiation for documents requiring an external signature

A workflow template must be set up with an "External signature" activity in order to send documents to Adobe Sign. When configuring an external signature task in the template, only one user can complete the task. If multiple authors are entered into the activity, then 1 of X is applied and the first author to "send for external signature" has a status of "Sent" in the workflow status report.

See Manually Initiating Workflows on Documents for more information about workflow initiation.

Sending documents for external signatures

When a document requires an electronic signature via Adobe Sign, the author has to "Send for external signature" from the My Tasks list. Prior to sending the agreement to be signed, the author can modify the document using Adobe Sign tools. Signatures, dates, initials, stamps, error corrections, and so on can be made to a document prior to sending for signature. For details on document modification, see the Adobe Sign documentation. The documents can be sent to Adobe Sign with multiple recipients including internal and external signers, and CC'd users. A message and an expiration date for the signature can be included in the Adobe agreement.

The FileHold ID number is pre-pended to the document name for FileHold identification purposes. This cannot be modified in the Adobe Sign window.

Once the modifications by the author is completed in the Adobe Sign window, the document is then sent to the signers. If the authoring process is cancelled prior to sending, there is no way to return to the authoring stage from FileHold or Adobe. The workflow will need to be cancelled and initiated again.

After all parties have signed the agreement, the signed document is added to the library as a new version.

To send an agreement for external signatures

  1. In the Reviews and Approvals > My Task list, select the External signature task.
  2. Click Send for external signature.
  3. In the Send for external signature window, enter the following information:
Field Name Description
Name The name of the workflow in FileHold.
External signers Enter the email addresses for the signers that are not users of FileHold.
Internal signers Select from the drop-down list any users of FileHold that are signers.
Internal CCs Select from the drop-down list any users of FileHold to be CC'd.
Message Enter the message to the signers.
Expiration days Enter how many days the signers have to complete the task.
Use default expiration The due date from the workflow template.
  1. Click Send and preview.
  2. In the Adobe Sign window, review the recipient and message information. The file name has the FileHold ID pre-pended.
  3. Select any options, such as password protect or reminders. For more information on this page, see the Adobe Sign documentation.
  4. If you need to add signature lines to the document, ensure the Preview & add signature fields check box is enabled.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Add any fields as needed to the document. See the Adobe Sign documentation for more information on modifying documents.
  7. Click Send. The message "<Workflow name> has been successfully sent for signature" appears.
  8. Once the document has been signed, the author will receive an email notification that the agreement has been signed. All parties receive a signed copy of the signed document. A new version of the document is checked into the FileHold library.
  9. To see the status of the signature, see the External signing report.

Postponing a signature

In the event that the agreement is not ready to be signed, the signature can be postponed. The option "Allow authoring postponed" must be enabled in the workflow template in order to use this feature. If a workflow has the option to postpone authoring enabled, then the workflow may be automatically restarted. Automatically restarting a workflow is useful when a later workflow activity discovers missing information or documents and needs to return to a previous activity. Participants are notified if a workflow is restarted and includes the comments of the user who postponed the workflow. See Creating Workflow Templates for more information. Workflows can be automatically restarted with one of the following options:

  • Return to the workflow initiator. The initiator would need to manually restart or re-initiate the workflow.
  • Automatically return to a previous activity in the workflow template.
  • The user postponing the activity can be given an option of selecting from a list of activities to restart from which includes the returning to the initiator or a previous workflow activities.
  • Create a one-time review activity. The one-time review activity automatically restarts the workflow with the new activity inserted in the tasks. This allows a workflow participant to request changes from any user ad hoc before they complete their own task.

To postpone an agreement signature

  1. In the Reviews and Approvals > My Task list, select the External signature task.
  2. Click Send for external signature.
  3. In the Send for external signature window, click Postpone sending.
  4. Enter any comments about postponing the signing.
  5. Click Choose File to provide a feedback document for the postponement.
  6. Click OK to postpone.
  7. If the option to automatically restart is configured, it may be possible to select the activity to restart from. Select the activity name in the list and click OK.
  8. If creating a one-time review activity, select one of the following options and enter any task instructions for the user and click OK:
  • Workflow initiator
  • Document owner
  • Select user from the drop-down list.
  1. Enter your password, if required, and click OK.
  2. If an automatic restart or one-time review option was selected, the workflow is automatically restarted. A one-time review activity is inserted immediately before the current activity. Any previously completed activities are copied over into the restarted workflow. The workflow status changes to "Approval postponed" or "Restarted" and the task status is "Voided". See the Workflow Status Report for Workflow Participants for more information.