Creates and sends an envelope or creates a draft envelope.
Envelopes are fundamental resources in the DocuSign platform
and are used in a variety of ways.
With this method you can:
- Create and send an envelope
with documents, recipients, and tabs.
- Create and send an envelope from a template.
- Create and send an envelope from
a combination of documents and templates.
- Create a draft envelope.
There are many ways to use envelopes.
You can create and send an envelope
with a single API request,
or you can use several API requests
to create, populate, and send envelopes.
When you use this method
to create and send an envelope
in a single request,
the following parameters are required:
sent to send the envelope to recipients.
created (or don't set at all) to save the envelope as a draft.
|The subject of the email used to send the envelope.
|The documents to be signed.
|The email addresses of the envelope recipients.
If you are creating an envelope
to be sent later,
save it as a draft
by either setting
created or leaving it unset.
For instance, you can create a draft envelope
with documents only.
Using additional API requests,
you can add the recipients
and send the envelope
in subsequent API requests.
Not all DocuSign features are available to all accounts.
Use DocuSign Admin to check and enable feature availability.
You can also check feature availability via the web application.
For example, if the web application allows you to send an envelope with SMS authentication,
then you can use the same feature through the API.
Documents can be included
with the Envelopes:create method,
or a template can include documents.
Documents can be added by using
a multipart/form request
or by using the
documentBase64 property of the
Adding Documents to Requests
There are two ways to add documents to your envelopes:
- Use the
documents property of the envelope definition.
- Send this request as a multipart/form-data
with documents added through additional request parts.
documents property is the simpler option,
but the request may be quite large
due to the base64 encoding.
This example shows how to add a document
using this method.
"emailSubject": "Example of one recipient, type signer",
"documentBase64": "base64 document bytes...",
"name": "Lisa Simpson",
If you are using a multipart/form-data
you do not have to base64 encode your documents.
You place the envelope definition in one part
and the document bytes in another:
<ENVELOPE DEFINITION GOES HERE>
Content-Disposition: file; filename="contract.pdf"; documentid=1
<DOCUMENT BYTES GO HERE>
Using Supplemental Documents
Supplemental documents are supporting materials
such as disclosures and other informational documents
that need to accompany a document sent for signature.
These supplemental documents are available to the signer
to view and acknowledge,
without making the envelope too large or confusing for signers.
Supplemental documents use the following properties in the
||When set to true, the document is included in the combined document download. The default value is true.
||This string sets the display and behavior properties of the document during signing. The possible values are:
The document is shown as a supplement action strip and can be viewed, downloaded, or printed in a modal window. This is the recommended value for supplemental documents.
The document is shown as a supplement action strip and can be viewed, downloaded, or printed in a new browser window.
This value is not used with supplemental documents, but is the default value for all other documents. The document is shown in the normal signing window.
||Sets how the signer interacts with the supplemental document. The possible values are:
No recipient action is required.
The recipient is required to view the document.
The recipient is required to accept the document by selecting accept during signing, but is not required to view the document.
The recipient is required to view and accept the document.
The View and Approve tabs
are used to set the interactions
for individual recipients.
The View tab includes a
that requires the recipient to view the supplemental document.
If the View tab
required property is not set,
the recipient can, but is not required to,
view the supplemental document.
To use the View and Approve tabs for
must be set to
The actions that the recipient must take
depend on the value
signerMustAcknowledge document property
whether the signer is assigned
View or Approve tabs
on the document.
To set the interactions for individual recipients,
then add View and Approve tabs
on the appropriate document for the recipient.
The action that a signer must take
depends on the value of the
signerMustAcknowledge document property,
whether the signer has an Approve tab,
and the value of the
required property of the View tab.
The following table
shows the actions a recipient must take
for different combinations
of these tabs and properties.
|Recipient is required to ...
||Take no action
||Take no action
||View and Accept
||View and Accept
||View and Accept
||View and Accept
envelopeDefinition object is used as the method's body.
Envelope recipients can be defined in the envelope or in templates.
EnvelopeRecipients resource object.
It includes arrays of the seven types of recipients defined by DocuSign:
||An agent recipient can add name and email information for recipients that appear after the agent in routing order.
||Carbon copy recipients get a copy of the envelope but don't need to sign, initial, date or add information to any of the documents. This type of recipient can be used in any routing order. Carbon copy recipients receive their copy of the envelope when the envelope reaches the recipient's order in the process flow and when the envelope is completed.
||Certified delivery recipients must receive the completed documents for the envelope to be completed. However, they don't need to sign, initial, date or add information to any of the documents.
||Editors have the same management and access rights for the envelope as the sender. They can make changes to the envelope as if they were using the Advanced Correct feature. This recipient can add name and email information, add or change the routing order and set authentication options for the remaining recipients. Additionally, this recipient can edit signature/initial tabs and data fields for the remaining recipients. The recipient must have a DocuSign account to be an editor.
||An in-person recipient is a DocuSign user, acting as a Signing Host, who is in the same physical location as the signer.
||An intermediary is a recipient who can, but is not required to, add name and email information for recipients at the same or subsequent level in the routing order, unless subsequent agents, editors or intermediaries are added.
||A signer is a recipient who must sign, initial, date, or add data to form fields on the documents in the envelope.
Additional information about the different types of recipients
is available from the
EnvelopeRecipients resource page
and from the Developer Center Recipients topic.
Tabs (also referred to as tags and fields in the web application),
can be defined in the
in templates, by transforming PDF Form Fields,
or by using Composite Templates (see below).
signer recipient objects
It is an
EnvelopeRecipientTabs resource object
that includes arrays of the different tab types available.
EnvelopeRecipientTabs resource for more information.
Envelopes use specific people or groups as recipients.
Templates can specify a role, eg
When a template is used in an envelope,
the roles must be replaced with specific people or groups.
When you create an envelope using a
the different recipient type objects
are used to assign recipients to the template's roles via the
The recipient objects can also override settings
that were specified in the template,
and set values for tab fields that were defined in the template.
When a template is added or applied to an envelope,
and the template has a locked email subject and message,
that subject and message are used for the envelope
and cannot be changed
even if another locked template
is subsequently added or applied to the envelope.
messageLock property is used to lock the email subject and message.
If an email subject or message is entered
before adding or applying a template with
messageLock set to true,
the email subject and message is overwritten
with the locked email subject and message from the template.
The status of sent envelopes
can be determined through the DocuSign webhook system
or by polling.
Webhooks are highly recommended:
they provide your application with the quickest updates when an envelope's
DocuSign limits polling to once every 15 minutes or less
See API Rules and Limits for more information and examples.
When a webhook is used,
DocuSign calls your application via the URL you provide, with a notification XML message.
for examples and live demos of using webhooks.
The two webhook options,
eventNotification and Connect,
use the same notification mechanism and message formats.
eventNotification to create a webhook
for a specific envelope sent via the API.
Connect webhooks can be used
for any envelope sent from an account,
from any user, from any client.
The Connect guide discusses the webhook notification message format.
The Envelopes:create method
includes an optional
eventNotification object property
that adds a webhook to the envelope.
eventNotification webhooks are available for all DocuSign accounts with API access.
Connect can be used to create a webhook
for all envelopes sent by all users in an account,
either through the API or through other DocuSign clients (web, mobile, etc).
Connect configurations are independent of specific envelopes.
A Connect configuration includes a filter
that may be used to limit the webhook to specific users, envelope statuses, etc.
You can create and manage Connect configurations with
the ConnectConfigurations resource.
Configurations can also be created and managed from DocuSign Admin
accessed by selecting Go to Admin from the menu
next to your picture on the DocuSign web app.
See the Connect topic in the Integrations section of DocuSign Admin.
For repeatability, and to minimize support questions,
creating Connect configurations via the API is recommended, especially for ISVs.
Connect is available for some DocuSign account types.
Please contact DocuSign Sales for more information.
The Composite Templates feature,
like compositing in film production,
enables you to overlay
and tab definitions
from multiple sources,
including PDF Form Field definitions,
templates defined on the server,
Each Composite Template consists of optional elements: server templates,
inline templates, PDF Metadata templates, and documents.
The Composite Template ID is an optional element used to identify the
composite template. It is used as a reference when adding document
object information via a multipart HTTP message. If used, the document
content-disposition must include the
compositeTemplateId to which the
document should be added. If
compositeTemplateId is not specified in
the content-disposition, the document is applied based on the
documentId only. If no document object is specified, the composite
template inherits the first document.
Server Templates are server-side templates stored on the DocuSign
platform. If supplied, they are overlaid into the envelope in the order
of their Sequence value.
Inline Templates provide a container to add documents, recipients,
tabs, and custom fields. If inline templates are supplied, they are
overlaid into the envelope in the order of their Sequence value.
Document objects are optional structures that provide a container to
pass in a document or form. If this object is not included, the
composite template inherits the first document it finds from a server
template or inline template, starting with the lowest sequence value.
PDF Form objects are only transformed from the document object. DocuSign
does not derive PDF form properties from server templates or inline
templates. To instruct DocuSign to transform fields from the PDF form,
transformPdfFields to true for the document.
See PDF Form Field Transformation
for more information about process.
- PDF Metadata Templates provide a container to embed design-time
template information into a PDF document. DocuSign uses this information
when processing the Envelope. This convention allows the document to
carry the signing instructions with it, so that less information needs
to be provided at run-time through an inline template or synchronized
with an external structure like a server template. PDF Metadata
templates are stored in the Metadata layer of a PDF in accordance with
Acrobat's XMP specification. DocuSign will only find PDF Metadata
templates inside documents passed in the Document object (see below). If
supplied, the PDF metadata template will be overlaid into the envelope
in the order of its Sequence value.
Compositing the Definitions
Each Composite Template adds a new document and templates overlay into
the envelope. For each Composite Template these rules are applied:
- Templates are overlaid in the order of their Sequence value.
- If Document is not passed into the Composite Template's
field, the first template's document (based on the template's Sequence
value) is used.
- Last in wins in all cases except for the document (i.e. envelope
information, recipient information, secure field information). There is
no special casing.
For example, if you want higher security on a tab,
then that needs to be specified in a later template (by sequence number)
than where the tab is included.
If you want higher security on a role recipient,
then it needs to be in a later template
than where that role recipient is specified.
Recipient matching is based on Recipient Role and Routing Order. If
there are matches, the recipient information is merged together. A final
pass is done on all Composite Templates, after all template overlays
have been applied, to collapse recipients with the same email, username
and routing order. This prevents having the same recipients at the same
If you specify in a template that a recipient is locked, once that
recipient is overlaid the recipient attributes can no longer be changed.
The only items that can be changed for the recipient in this case are
the email, username, access code and IDCheckInformationInput.
Tab matching is based on Tab Labels, Tab Types and Documents. If a Tab
Label matches but the Document is not supplied, the Tab is overlaid for
all the Documents.
For example, if you have a simple inline template with only one tab in
it with a label and a value, the Signature, Initial, Company, Envelope
ID, User Name tabs will only be matched and collapsed if they fall in
the exact same X and Y locations.
tabLabel matching is case sensitive.
defaultRecipient property enables you to specify which recipient
the tabs generated from a PDF form are mapped to. You can also set PDF
form generated tabs to a recipient other than the default recipient by
specifying the mapping of the tab label that is created to one of the
You can use
tabLabel wild carding to map a series of tabs from the PDF
form. To use this you must end a tab label with "*" and then the system
matches tabs that start with the label.
defaultRecipient is specified, tabs must be explicitly mapped
to recipients in order to be generated from the form. Unmapped form
objects will not be generated into their DocuSign equivalents. (In the
case of Signature/Initials, the tabs will be disregarded entirely; in
the case of pdf text fields, the field data will be flattened on the
Envelope document, but there will not be a corresponding DocuSign data
Including the Document Content for Composite Templates
Document content can be supplied inline, using the
can be included in a multipart HTTP message. If a multipart message is
used and there are multiple Composite Templates, the document
content-disposition can include the
compositeTemplateId to which the
document should be added. Using the
compositeTemplateId sets which
documents are associated with particular composite templates. An example
of this usage is:
Content-Disposition: file; filename="eula.pdf"; documentId=1; compositeTemplateId="1"
PDF Form Field Transformation
Only the following PDF Form FieldTypes are transformed to DocuSign
Field Properties that are transformed:
- Read Only
- Max Length
- Initial Data
When transforming a PDF Form Digital Signature Field, the following rules apply.
Any other PDF Form Digital Signature Field will be transformed to a DocuSign Signature tab
|If the PDF Field Name contains
||Then the DocuSign tab will be
When transforming PDF Form Text Fields, the following rules apply.
Any other PDF Form Text Field will be transformed to a DocuSign data (text) tab.
|If the PDF Field Name contains
||Then the DocuSign tab will be
|Optional Signer Attachment
PDF Form Field Names that include
eSignIgnoreTransform will not be transformed.
PDF Form Date fields that include
will be transformed
to Date Signed fields.
Template Email Subject Merge Fields
This feature enables you to insert recipient name and email address
merge fields into the email subject line when creating or sending from a
The merge fields, based on the recipient's
roleName, are added to the
emailSubject when the template is created or when the template is used
to create an envelope. After a template sender adds the name and email
information for the recipient and sends the envelope, the recipient
information is automatically merged into the appropriate fields in the
email subject line.
Both the sender and the recipients will see the information in the email
subject line for any emails associated with the template. This provides
an easy way for senders to organize their envelope emails without having
to open an envelope to check the recipient.
If merging the recipient information into the subject line causes the
subject line to exceed 100 characters, then any characters over the 100
character limit are not included in the subject line. For cases where
the recipient name or email is expected to be long, you should consider
placing the merge field at the start of the email subject.
To add a recipient's name in the subject line add the following text
emailSubject when creating the template or when sending an
envelope from a template:
"emailSubject":"[[Signer 1_UserName]], Please sign this NDA"
To add a recipient's email address in the subject line add the
following text in the emailSubject when creating the template or when
sending an envelope from a template:
"emailSubject":"[[Signer 1_Email]], Please sign this NDA"
In both cases
<roleName> is the recipient's
roleName in the template.
For cases where another recipient (such as an Agent, Editor, or
Intermediary recipient) is entering the name and email information for
the recipient included in the email subject, then
[[<roleName>_Email]] is shown in the
Branding an Envelope
The following rules are used to determine the
brandId used in an envelope:
- If a
brandId is specified in the envelope or template
brandId is available to the account,
that brand is used in the envelope.
- If more than one template is used in an envelope,
and more than one
brandId is specified,
brandId specified is used throughout the envelope.
- In cases where no brand is specified,
and the sender belongs to a group:
- If there is only one brand associated with the group,
then that brand is used in the envelope.
- Otherwise, the account's default signing brand is used.
- For envelopes that do not meet any of the previous criteria,
the account's default signing brand is used for the envelope.
BCC Email Address Feature
The BCC Email address feature
is designed to provide a copy
of all email communications for external archiving purposes.
DocuSign recommends that envelopes sent using the BCC for Email Archive feature,
including the BCC Email Override option,
include additional signer authentication options.
Do not use this feature
to send a copy of the envelope
to a recipient who does not need to sign.
Use a Carbon Copy or Certified Delivery Recipient type instead.
Merge Recipient Roles for Draft Envelopes
When an envelope with multiple templates is sent,
the recipients from the templates are merged according to the template roles,
and empty recipients are removed.
When creating an envelope with multiple templates,
but not sending it (keeping it in a created state),
duplicate recipients are not merged,
which could leave duplicate recipients in the envelope.
To prevent this,
the query parameter
should be added when posting a draft envelope (
with multiple templates.
Doing this will merge template roles and remove empty recipients.
DocuSign recommends that the
parameter be used any time you are creating an envelope with
multiple templates and keeping it in draft (