Document signing overview
Document signing happens in SignSpace spaces.
To start a document signing process, create a signing request. Signing request is an activity in a space where you attach files to be signed and invite signatories, to review the documents and sign them electronically. Signing request posted in a space looks like this:
Signing request may be created with no signing order (as in the example above) or it can have a set order for how signatories follow each other.
You may create a signing request in different locations on a space depending on what you are trying to achieve:
- You may start a new space by creating a signing request. If you would like to start a completely new collaboration by a signing request where only people who need to sign the document will have access, starting a new space with your signing request will suit best.
- You may post a signing request as a separate activity in an existing space (in SignSpace it is also called a separate branch in a space). For instance, if you are creating one of multiple signing requests related to the same long-term contract, it might be more convenient to have all of those signing requests in one space. But you still want to have a bit of separation between each signing request. In such case, use a separate activity in an existing space to post one of many related signing requests.
- You may also create a signing request from an external business application via SignApace API. For more information about how to create signing requests via API see https://dev.signspace.com/
Once a signing request is created, signatories will receive email notifications to sign the documents.
For existing SignSpace users email button View signing request leads the signatory to a space where signing request is located.
For signatories who are not registered users on SignSpace, email button View signing request leads directly to document preview and signing interface. Signatory can sign a signing request without registration and later optionally create a SignSpace account.
If you have many signing requests on SignSpace, there is a dedicated Signings view available from the top bar, which lists all the signing requests you have access to and provides a quick way to view each in a relevant space.
There are two signature levels on SignSpace. Creator of the signing request chooses the level relevant for each signing request.
If the Light level is selected, each signatory will be asked to identify herself/himself by means of email address verification either during SignSpace account registration or during signing by using a one-time security code that will be delivered to her/his email address.
If the Strong level is selected, signatory is required to identify herself/himself using strong electronic identification either during the signing event or earlier when applying for personal SignSpace advance electronic signing certificate. Strong electronic identification is carried out via the verification service by Signicat. Identity is verified via electronic IDs for Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. To verify their identities, signatories will need their bank or mobile electronic ID credentials.
When all the signatories sign a signing request, signed files become available in the space where the signing request was posted.
The signed files are also automatically stored in SignSpace for 10 years. However for convenience users may also download the files. SignSpace also has a verification service at https://www.signspace.com/verification.html where signature validity and document integrity may be verified.
Create a new space with a signing request
To create a signing request in a new space, click + New button and choose Signing request.
Fill in the new signing request form.
The Contract name field will be the title of the signing request and the title of the new space that contains the request. You may change these titles later if needed.
Signatories will be invited to sign the attached documents via email and will gain access to the space that contains the request. When you enter a signatory’s name or email, the input field will transform into the following format:
Signatory’s name or email appears in the left column. This is the only mandatory information for the signing request. All the other information is optional:
- The person icon opens a modal for adding signatory name and title. Signatory name appears on the signature page when using the light identity verification method. If no name is given, the signatory will be asked to provide the name before signing. If name information is already available from existing SignSpace user information, it cannot be edited here. If title is filled in, the title is displayed on the signature document below the signatory's name.
- The right column indicates the name of the contracting party (i.e. the organization name). If signatory is an existing SignSpace user, the contracting party information is displayed from this user’s SignSpace account. In some cases SignSpace users have more than one account to represent multiple organizations, then you are able to pick the correct contracting party from the list. To leave contracting party information empty in the signature page, select ‘-‘ from the list. To add another organization, which is not visible in the list, use the input field to type in the company name. For Finnish companies a matching organization from the national business registry will be suggested, while for foreign companies this will be a free-text field. If contracting party is filled in, it is displayed on the signature document below the signatory's name and title.
If you set Signing order ON in the advanced options, signatories will be invited to sign in the numbered order, which you define.
Use Other recipients field to enter other users who will be notified about this signing request and will have access to the created space.
Use Owners field to enter other users who will have the signing request and space owner status, thus will be able to edit and manage the signing request and the space where it is posted. You do not need to add yourself to the owner list, signing request creator automatically becomes the owner.
The envelope icons at the end of the Other recipients and Owners input fields provide options to control when SignSpace will send email notifications related to this signing request to each group.
Attach files to be signed in the Files to sign area.
Provide an optional message to the participants in the Message field.
The advanced options provide more control over the signing request.
Allow delegation will allow signatories to delegate the signing request to another user in case they are not the right person to sign.
Protect files option adds passcode protection for accessing attached files in case the user signing without being registered on SignSpace.
In Identity verification method select the required signature level, which can be either Light (does not require strong electronic identification) or Strong (requires strong electronic identification).
Add due date to indicate the deadline for completing the signing request and to automate sending of reminders. These reminders are sent 3 days before, 1 day before and when due date has passed. Signatories may continue to sign after the due date.
You can also change the signing process language if you want all users to receive email notifications and have signing environment in a specific language.
Since this signing request will create a new space, the bottom bar of the form contains a link Security settings. These settings will apply to the created space. They are fully editable at any time in the created space, and this is just a quick access to them. Clicking the link will open the following pop-up:
Detailed security options are described in the Space security section of the collaboration topic.
While you edit the form, signing requests are not saved as a draft, so if you click X or Discard you will be asked if you agree to discard unsaved changes.
After clicking Send, a new space will be created and the signing request will be posted in it as the first activity.
Create a signing request in an existing space
To create a signing request as a new activity in an existing space, click the 3 dots icon inside the bottom reply bar and select Signing request in the context menu.
If you started typing in the reply, you will also see the Signing request link in the floating menu above the bottom reply bar.
You will be presented with a signing request form. Fill in the form.
This signing request will be posted as a separate activity in the current space.
Signing request form advanced option provide a choice for switching signing order on. By default the signing order feature is switched off. This means that all signatories will be invited to sign at once when the signing request is created.
If you would like signatories to follow a defined order, set Signing order ON in the form. Then each signatory line will show a number, which you can change.
By default all numbers are 1s. Click on each number which you would like to change.
Once the signing request is sent out, all the signatories will be informed about the created signing request at once, but they will be allowed to sign only according to the numbered order.
If a signatory no.2 views the signing request when signatory no.1 has not completed signing, the signatory list will look like this and signatory no.2 will not be able to access the Read & Sign button.
Identity verification options
There are two identity verification options on SignSpace. Creator of the signing request chooses the option required for each signing request in the advanced options.
If the Light level is selected it is enough for a signatory to be identified by means of email address verification:
- For registered users, during SignSpace account registration
- For unregistered users, who sign without registration, during signing by using a one-time security code that will be delivered to their email address.
The Light level is easier and faster for signing, however it provides a lower assurance of signatory identity. Therefore for signatures, which require signatory identity to be verified strongly, there is another option called the Strong level.
If the Strong level is selected, signatory is required to identify herself/himself using strong electronic identification:
- For registered users, during every signing event, if the SignSpace Key mobile app is not used for signing.
- For registered users, only once, when applying for personal SignSpace advance electronic signing certificate through the SignSpace Key mobile app, if the SignSpace Key mobile app is used for signing.
- For unregistered users, who sign without registration, during every signing.
Strong electronic identification is carried out via the verification service by Signicat. Identity is verified via electronic IDs for Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. To verify their identities, signatories will need their bank or mobile electronic ID credentials.
All signatures created in SignSpace complies with the eIDAS Regulation (Regulation (EU) N°910/2014). More information about signatures in https://resources.signspace.com/legal-compliance
Sign a document if you are a registered SignSpace user
When you are invited to sign a document, you will receive an email notification.
Follow the email link to SignSpace space where the signing request is located.
To start the signing process, click Read & sign next to your name.
The document preview window will open.
Read all the documents - there might be more than one document to review. For convenience, you can download documents for review. SignSpace allows to sign various file types and for some of the file types document preview might not be available. You will have to download such files for review on your computer.
If during document review you see that you are not the right person to sign this request, you have two options:
- Delegate the signing request
- Decline to sign
Delegate button is available on each page of the document review and on the last signature process page. Use this option if you know who is the right person to sign this. You will see a form where you need to fill in the name or email of the new signatory and provide an optional message for the new signatory. The message is private and will delivered to the new signatory in the email invitation.
Decline to sign button is available on the last signature process page. Use this option if you cannot sign and do not know who would be the right person to sign. Signing request will be placed on hold (the signing request owner can reopen it if needed) and your signature status will change into this:
If you are the right person to sign, after reviewing all the documents, click the Proceed to sign button.
On the last step of document signing, click the button Sign 2 documents now.
In this example a Light signature level was selected when creating the signing request so strong electronic identification is not required. As soon as SignSpace processes your request you will automatically go back to the space where the signing request is posted.
You can see that the signing request status next to your name has changed to Signed.
In case the Strong signature level is selected, when you click Sign 2 documents now the process will be different. For Strong signatures strong electronic identification is required. The most convenient way to handle this is to use SignSpace Key app for signing. If you are already using the app, you will receive a push notification to your mobile phone with the signing request. Press Sign button and provide your phone passcode or Touch ID to sign. As soon as SignSpace processes your request you will see the Signing complete information screen on your desktop.
If you are not yet using the SignSpace Key mobile app, you will see this screen, suggesting to install the app. Enter your email and click Email me the download link. To continue signing on the web click Close this pop-up.
App install link will be emailed to your inbox. The desktop screen will change to these instructions.
Open your email inbox on your mobile phone and install the app. As indicated in the instructions, after install you need to sign in to your SignSpace account in the mobile app. Then you need to carry out strong electronic identification. This is done through Signicat service and you only have to do it once. Identity is verified via electronic IDs for Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. To verify your identity, have your bank or mobile electronic ID credentials ready. Your app is ready for signing when you see this screen.
When your app is ready, a push notification with a signing request will be sent to your mobile phone.
Press Sign button and provide your phone passcode or Touch ID to sign. As soon as SignSpace processes your request you will see the Signing complete information screen on your desktop.
In case you are not using a smartphone or do not have access to it at the moment, you can continue signing using SignSpace web application. However in this case every time you need to sign for a Strong level, you will be asked to carry out strong electronic identification.
Strong electronic identification is carried out via identity verification service by Signicat. Identity is verified via electronic IDs for Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. To verify your identity, have your bank or mobile electronic ID credentials ready.
Once you are back to SignSpace after verifying your identity, click the Sign 2 documents now button again to resume signing.
You will see a notification that you completed the document signing and you will be back in the space where the signing request is posted. You can see that the signing request status next to your name has changed to Signed.
Note! If you are not the last person to sign, the document attached to this signing request still does not show your electronic signature. If you view or download the document now, you will not see any signatures in it. The document signatures become visible only when all the signatories have signed. You will be informed by an email message when all the signatories have finished signing and the documents with the electronic signatures are ready for downloading.
Sign a document without registration to SignSpace
Signatories who do not have an account on SignSpace, receive signing request notification and can proceed to sign without registration by clicking View signing request.
In case the access to the documents is protected by a security passcode, you will be asked to enter the passcode, which is sent to your email.
Go to your inbox to get the passcode.
After entering the passcode you will have access to the signing request files.
If you notice that you are not the right person to sign these files, you have two options:
- Delegate the signing request
- Decline to sign
Delegate button is available on each page of the document review. Use this option if you know who is the right person to sign this. You will see a form where you need to fill in the email of the new signatory and provide an optional message for the new signatory. The message is private and will delivered to the new signatory in the email invitation.
Decline to sign button is available on each page of the document review and on the last signature process page. You will be asked to provide a comment about why you cannot sign this signing request. The comment will be posted publicly in the SignSpace space for all space members to see. The signing request will be placed on hold and the signing request owner will be notified about your action.
If the signing request is addressed to you correctly, read all the documents - there might be more than one document to review. For convenience, you can download documents for review. SignSpace allows to sign various file types and for some of the file types document preview might not be available. You will have to download such files for review on your computer.
After reviewing all the documents, click the Proceed to sign button. Then on the last step of document signing, click the button Sign 2 documents now.
In case the Light signature level is set for the signing request , you will be asked to enter your name. Enter your official name - it will appear in the document signatures.
Click Sign now and you will see a notification that you completed the document signing. We recommend creating a SignSpace account, so that you can participate in the discussion, follow the whole signing process and have access to the archived final documents with all signatures.
In case the Strong signature level is set for the signing request, when signing, instead of entering your name you will be asked to carry out strong electronic identification. Strong electronic identification is carried out via identity verification service by Signicat. Identity is verified via electronic IDs for Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. To verify your identity, have your bank or mobile electronic ID credentials ready.
Once you are back to SignSpace after verifying your identity, you will see a notification that you completed the document signing.
Edit signing request
If you are the owner of a signing request you can edit the posted signing request. Click Edit signing request link at the bottom of the posted signing request.
Editable form will open.
You can change contract name, remove current signatories if they have not signed yet (it is not possible to remove a signatory, who already signed, add new signatories, add other recipients or signing request owners, change the message text. When done with the changes click the Save button and the signing request will be updated (the new participants will also receive respective invitations related to this signing request). The text fields (such as contract title or message text will have (edited) notification next to them.
You can also control the advanced options in the editing form. For instance you can switch the signing order on and off.
Share unique signing request links
In case the default signing request invitation sent by SignSpace system is not successful for any technical reasons, the creator of the signing request has access to the unique links of each invited signatory. Click on the 3 dots on a specific signatory line in the posted signing request and the context menu will provide the option to copy the link. Click the menu item and the link will be copied to your PC clipboard. Now you can paste it in another tool for sharing: email, chat, etc.
Unique link is available only for signing requests in which identity verification method is set to “Light”.
Note! This functionality is security sensitive, because the unique link identifies a specific signatory. Make sure that you are sharing each link only with the correct participant over a secure channel and only do that if the default SignSpace sharing mechanisms do not work.
Put on hold, cancel or reopen a signing request
Signing request owner may cancel a signing request, which is no longer relevant. This option is available in the context menu of the signing request.
Signing request owner may reopen a canceled signing request at any time. This option is available in the context menu of the signing request.
Any user may set a signing request on hold. This option is available in the context menu of the signing request.
Signing request is also put on hold if a signatory chooses a Decline to sign option when signing.
Signing request owner may reopen the signing request which is on hold or cancel it, if it is no longer relevant. These options are available in the context menu of the signing request.
View signing request history
Signing request history is available in the context menu of the signing request.
It opens in a modal window and lists the key activities related to content or status change of the signing request.
View signed documents
Viewing signed PDF files
When all the signatories have signed a PDF file on SignSpace, a signature page is affixed at the end of the PDF file.
A completed signing request with PDF files looks like this
For PDF files you can click the file attachment and preview the signed PDF file online (the signatures are in the last page of the document). You can also download each PDF file separately to your computer. Or you can click Download all files with signatures link and a zip archive with all the signed files will be downloaded to your computer.
Viewing signed non PDF files
When all the signatories have signed a non PDF file (e. g. Word, Powerpoint, Excel, image or video file) on SignSpace, a ZIP file is created. It contains both the original file and a PDF signature page.
A completed signing request with non PDF files looks like this (each signed file is zipped with its signature page).
You cannot preview these zip archives online, but you can download each zip separately to your computer to view it. Or you can click Download all files with signatures link and one zip archive with all the original files and their PDF signature pages will be downloaded to your computer.
Verify signed documents
The document verification service enables you to check the integrity of documents signed on SignSpace. The service is provided at https://www.signspace.com/en/verification. To perform document verification you need to have the file and its signature information. The signature information might be in different formats:
- A page attached at the end of a PDF document
- A separate PDF document
The easiest way to make sure you have all the necessary information for verification is to click the Download all files with signatures link in a completed signing request.
One zip file will be downloaded to your computer. Keep this zip file for future reference and when you need to verify the signatures, upload that zip to the verification service page at https://www.signspace.com/en/verification.
When you upload the zip, you will see the verification result:
You could also upload just one of the files from the zip file for verification, but in that case you need to know precisely where and in what format the signature information is contained (otherwise you will receive an error message). The following results show verification for one file, but inform you that this file was signed as part of a package containing 2 documents.
If you do not upload the relevant signature information with the signed file, you will see this or a similar error message. To avoid such situations, using a downloaded zip is a recommended solution.
Filtering and search
Predefined filters, tagging, and free text search makes it easy to find the needed signing requests you need.
The filters are located on the side bar. Select a filter that supports your search and the corresponding signature requests that match the filter will be listed. You can refine the search by selecting the icon next to the filter name. Additional filters are displayed. You can also refine your search by adding any previously used tags to the search box or by using free text search.
- List the signing requests that are waiting for your signature by selecting the "Assigned to Me" -> "Incomplete" filter.
- List the uncompleted signing requests created by you by selecting "Assigned toCreated by Me" -> "Incomplete" filter.
NOTE: The “Incomplete” filter does not include the Signing requests set on hold. Use the “On hold” filter to list any Signing Requests set on hold.