What is a Docusign envelope?

Buyer’s Guides
June 19, 2024
How do Docusign envelopes work, and how many are included in your plan? Get answers to all of your questions in this guide.

What are envelopes in Docusign?

A DocuSign envelope is a digital container used to send one or more documents for electronic signing. Envelopes act like folders, holding documents, recipients’ details, and other important information about the workflow and status of the transaction.

What is the difference between a Docusign envelope and document?

A DocuSign envelope is the overall package sent to recipients, which can contain one or more legal documents. Each document within an envelope is an individual file that requires signatures or other actions.

How do Docusign envelopes work?

When you create a DocuSign envelope, you upload the documents that need signing and specify who needs to sign them by entering recipient details. 

Each recipient then gets an email notification with a link to access the envelope. From there, they can view the documents, add their signatures, initials, dates, and any additional information asked for within Docusign. 

The envelope can then be used to track the progress of each document, showing senders when recipients have opened, viewed, and signed the documents collated in the envelope. 

How to send envelopes in Docusign

Docusign offers a streamlined process for sending groups of documents (and individual files) through envelopes. Follow these steps to send an envelope through DocuSign:

  1. Log in: Access your DocuSign account.
  2. New envelope: Click on "New" and select "Send an Envelope."
  3. Upload documents: Add the documents that need to be sent.
  4. Add recipients: Enter the email addresses of the recipients and assign their roles.
  5. Set signing order: Define the order in which recipients will receive and sign the documents if needed.
  6. Add fields: Drag and drop signature fields, date fields, and other required fields onto the documents.
  7. Review and send: Double-check all information and click "Send."

How to manage envelopes in Docusign

Managing envelopes in DocuSign involves overseeing and controlling document transactions as they progress through their lifecycle.

You can complete these actions by following the steps below: 

  1. Manage tab: Go to the "Manage" tab in your DocuSign account.
  2. Dashboard overview: View the status of all your envelopes, including those sent, in process, and completed.
  3. Filter and search: Use filters and search options to locate specific envelopes based on criteria like status, date, or recipient.
  4. Edit envelopes: Make changes to envelopes if necessary, such as correcting recipient information or adding additional documents. This can be done directly from the ‘Manage’ tab.
  5. Resend or void: Resend envelopes to recipients who have not yet signed or void envelopes if the transaction is no longer needed.
  6. Audit trails: Review detailed logs and audit trails for each envelope to ensure compliance and track actions taken by recipients.

How much does Docusign cost per envelope?

DocuSign's pricing per envelope varies based on the plan and volume. The more envelopes you use, the more you’ll pay to use Docusign. 

Typically, plans are subscription-based, offering a set number of envelopes per month or year.

Generally, DocuSign offers several plans:

Personal plan

Docusign’s personal plan is designed to be used by individuals, like freelancers or those wanting to test the tool to sign one-off agreements. The plan offers a limited number of envelopes per month for a flat fee, usually including up to 5 envelopes per month.

Standard & Business Pro plan

Docusign’s standard plan is geared towards small to medium-sized businesses, and this plan includes more envelopes per month as a result, along with other features, like team management capabilities. This plan typically offers around 100 envelopes per user per year, which equates to around 10 per user each month. 

Enterprise plan

Docusign’s enterprise plan offers custom pricing, often including a large volume of envelopes and enterprise-grade features, but for a considerably higher cost. 

It's crucial to choose a plan that aligns with your expected usage to avoid running out of envelopes, or breaking the budget with hidden and unaccounted for extra fees.

Docusign envelope pricing: what to consider

It's also worth considering that Docusign's user-based pricing model can quickly become expensive or restrictive for larger businesses with different stakeholders working across contracts.

This is because it limits the number of users who can efficiently utilize the platform without incurring additional costs. This, in turn, discourages widespread adoption across the business.

Independent reviews left by Docusign users on G2 also suggest that there's not enough flexibility offered to businesses that need to buy additional envelopes, meaning they have to upgrade or renew their contract instead:

"DocuSign is more expensive than other providers and it does not allow you to buy envelopes as you go, you will have to renew your contract" - Independent review, DocuSign user, G2
"An annual subscriber on the business plan gets a yearly allowance of 100 envelopes. We tend to send several hundred per month, which adds substantial cost to the plan" - Independent review, DocuSign user, G2
"My company has found limited use and we cannot get fewer than 5,000 envelopes per year so we are overpaying" - Independent review, DocuSign user, G2

Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to Docusign that offer greater flexibility, and in some cases, more comprehensive functionality.

Are there any better options?

Juro’s AI-native contract management software is a perfect example of a platform that provides this flexibility, offering custom pricing plans that suit every business, and no cap on users.

Best of all, Juro gives legal and business teams the full suite of tools they need to manage contracts from start to finish.

Unlike Docusign, which focuses on the contract signing phase, Juro empowers legal and other business teams to accelerate the creation, execution and management of contracts, enabling them to agree terms 10x faster than traditional tools.

You can find out about Juro’s powerful functionality in this guide to contract management software, or by hitting the button below to book a personalized demo.

Want to save 90% of time on contracts?

Book a demo to find out how Juro is helping 6000+ companies to agree and manage contracts up to 10x faster than traditional tools.

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Frequently asked questions

Where can I find out more about Docusign?

We've got plenty of articles about Docusign's features and suitability for your business. We've listed a few:

How many envelopes can I send with Docusign?

How many envelopes you can send with Docusign will depend entirely on the plan you pay for, as described above. 

What are Docusign shared envelopes?

Docusign shared envelopes allow multiple users within an organization to access and manage envelopes collaboratively. 

Can I transfer envelopes in Docusign?

Yes. It is possible to transfer envelopes in Docusign if you send them to another user within your account. This feature is helpful if the responsibility for managing an envelope changes due to role transitions, for example. 

To transfer an envelope, go to the "Manage" tab, select the envelope, and choose the transfer option.

How can I see how many Docusign envelopes I have left?

To check your remaining envelopes:

  1. Log in to your DocuSign account.
  2. Navigate to the "Account Settings" or "Billing" section.
  3. Review the details about your plan, including the number of envelopes used and the number remaining in your current billing cycle.

What is the purpose of the Docusign envelope ID?

The DocuSign envelope ID is a unique identifier assigned to each envelope. This ID helps track and manage the envelope throughout its lifecycle. It is used to identify and refer to the envelope in audit trails, reporting, and customer support inquiries, making it easier to track specific transactions.

What does deleting a Docusign envelope do?

Deleting a DocuSign envelope permanently removes it from your account. This action cancels any pending actions within the envelope and makes it inaccessible to both the sender and recipients. Deleting an envelope is irreversible, so it should only be done when you are certain the documents are no longer needed.

Why do Docusign envelopes expire?

DocuSign envelopes have expiration dates to encourage people to complete transactions faster. They also exist to improve security for these envelopes and the documents within them. 

Who can void a Docusign envelope?

Typically, the sender of the envelope has the authority to void it. Voiding an envelope cancels the transaction, preventing any further actions from being taken on the documents within it. 

This is useful if the documents are no longer needed or if there are errors that need correcting before resending. 

It’s also worth noting that recipients and other users can be notified of the voiding action, making sure everyone is aware of the shift in status.

Find out more about Docusign's functionality

Looking for more guides on Docusign's functionality and competitors? Check out the articles below:

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