What is a DocuSign Envelope?

When you are ready to send a document for electronic signature, it is important to ensure that you are sending it properly. Saving an agreement as a PDF and attaching it to an email presents multiple risk factors to all parties involved. When you prepare and send a document or multiple documents for signature using DocuSign eSignature, those documents are added to a container called an envelope

Read on to learn more about DocuSign envelopes, how they work, and how they keep your information safe. 

What is a DocuSign envelope?

To send documents for signature using DocuSign eSignature, you put them in an electronic ‘container’ called an envelope. Think of it as similar to sending documents by physical mail, except that your DocuSign envelope is delivered to the recipient’s email inbox. An envelope is not the document itself—in fact, a DocuSign envelope can contain multiple documents at the same time. And you can send one envelope to multiple recipients, whether they need to sign or just be copied on the workflow.

How do DocuSign envelopes work?

Just like a physical envelope, the purpose of a DocuSign envelope is to act as a container that holds the documents and keeps their contents private and secure. It does this through multiple industry leading security features:

  • Encryption. All DocuSign envelopes are encrypted so they remain secure when they are being sent to signers.  
  • Authentication. Signers are required to verify their identity before they can open an envelope. 
  • Audit trail. Each step of the signing process is recorded and time stamped by DocuSign, so there will never be any confusion about who has signed a document or when they signed it. 
  • Certificate of completion. Once the signing process is complete, DocuSign generates a certificate of completion, which records the data from the audit trail so it is easily accessible. 
  • Tamper-evident seal. When it is time to store an envelope, it receives a tamper-evident seal, which prevents additional changes from being made. 
  • Secure storage. DocuSign envelopes are stored in our highly secure storage facility, which has both physical and digital security systems in place around the clock. 

How do I manage envelopes?

Envelopes are created and managed from the Manage page. From this page, users can:

  • View the details of envelopes
  • Sort and filter envelopes by status, sent date, or sender
  • Make corrections to envelopes 
  • Void or delete envelopes
  • Make copies of envelopes
  • Save an envelope as a template 
  • Forward completed envelopes
  • Share access to envelopes

How do seats work with envelopes?

A DocuSign seat grants one user access to create, manage, and send documents and envelopes with DocuSign. For customers on Standard and Business Pro Web accounts, additional seats also grant access to more envelopes that can be used across the account.

When an organization has multiple people who want to collaborate on a document simultaneously, they will require multiple seats. While not strictly necessary to take advantage of the benefits of DocuSign eSignature’s suite of tools, having multiple seats can often expedite the process of negotiating and editing agreements, especially when multiple departments are involved.

This enables teams to save time by collaborating on agreements, commenting with suggestions, or delegating tasks to other users. As your organization grows, it may be useful to designate an IT administrator to centrally manage several user accounts for greater visibility on agreements.

You can purchase more seats by logging into your account and going to the Users page in the Setting tab. From here, you can review the seats and assigned users you have tied to your account and purchase seats to provide DocuSign access to teammates.

Adding more envelopes to your plan

DocuSign pricing plans start with a fixed number of envelopes and you can purchase additional envelopes as your needs increase. You can see how many envelopes you have available by logging into your account and going to the Plans and Billing page in the Settings tab.

Should you need more envelopes than the allowance on your plan, you can purchase additional envelopes on the Plans and Billing page as well. Note - you must have a Standard or Business Pro Web account and have Administrative access in order to purchase additional envelopes. Once you purchase more envelopes, you can start sending them immediately.

If you have any questions on adding envelopes to your plan, please reach out to our Customer Support team to assist you. 

eSignature Personal Plan Envelope Allotment

Our eSignature Personal Plan includes five envelopes every month. Should you need more than five envelopes per month, you can upgrade to a Standard or Business Pro plan that offers more envelopes and greater flexibility to customize your plan based on your needs.

eSignature Standard and Business Pro Envelope Allotment

We believe that send volume (i.e., number of envelopes sent for signature) should not be a deciding factor in selecting your eSignature provider, and we understand that you may not know how many envelopes you’ll need to send for signature in your first year with DocuSign. Based on historical usage of our existing customer base, we know that 100 envelopes per seat per year far exceeds the needs of most customers. Therefore, Standard and Business Pro annual plans include an allowance of up to 100 sent envelopes per seat per year. Monthly plans include an allowance of up to 10 sent envelopes per user per month.

If you’re curious about envelope allotment across other eSignature plan types, our sales team can also help consult on the best plan to meet your needs.

Send agreements securely with DocuSign 

DocuSign envelopes allow you to send any agreement with confidence. See for yourself how easy this process is with a DocuSign free trial.

Plans & Pricing

Ready to get started? Check out our eSignature plans and see which one is right for you.