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Electronic Signatures F.A.Q.

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Adobe Sign was discontinued on Thursday, January 23, 2020, as UMass Amherst has switched to DocuSign for its digital document routing and signing platform. Please see the official announcement for more information.

What are electronic signatures?

An electronic signature is a simple and often legally recognized way to indicate consent or approval on a digital document or form. Unlike electronic signatures, digital signatures are a specific implementation of an e-signature that requires the signer to have a certificate-based digital ID.

What is DocuSign?

DocuSign is the service that powers Electronic Signatures at UMass Amherst. DocuSign enables departments, faculty, and staff to obtain electronic signatures for documents such as contracts, agreements, or estimates. UMass Amherst previosuly used Adobe Sign (formerly eSign), which was discontinued on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

How do I obtain an electronic signature account?

To activate your account and begin using DocuSign, log in with your NetID email ( to begin use. 

Once you have logged in, you can immediately begin creating and building templates using some of the many new and intuitive tools available. To learn more about DocuSign and its features, we suggest reviewing some of the many learning materials available online at the DocuSign University website (requires account activation).

How much does an electronic signature account cost?

DocuSign accounts are free to use for faculty and staff under the enterprise license obtained by the university.

When can I use electronic signatures?

Electronic signatures can replace paper signatures for contracts, agreements, and other documents, some exceptions apply. Please speak to your supervisor regarding the use of electronic signatures in your area. In some cases, a paper signature is required. Do not use DocuSign for sensitive documents. 

What file types can I use?

DocuSign offers extensive file type support, including: 

  • PDF (.pdf)
  • Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx)
  • Microsoft Excel (.xls and .xlsx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx)
  • Text (.txt)
  • Rich Text (.rtf)

More information

Who can see the documents I send via DocuSign?

DocuSign electronic signature requests are sent directly to the email address(es) of the signer(s) that you specify before you send a document. 

Can recipients sign a document on a mobile device?

Yes. DocuSign supports web-enabled phones and tablet devices as long as the device has a web browser.

Can I store signed documents on DocuSign? 

DocuSign archives signed documents, but always make sure to store a local copy of signed documents by downloading them to your computer or saving a print copy. 

Can I send sensitive documents with DocuSign?

No. Do not use DocuSign to send or store documents containing sensitive information (e.g., Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers).