Remote working has changed many things about the way we work. Forms, contracts, agreements, and documentation that once had to be physically signed, can now be done virtually using electronic signing software.

UCT introduces Adobe Sign

UCT has entered into a licence agreement with Adobe to give licenced staff members access to Acrobat Sign. It caters for the sending, signing, and tracking of online documentation. 

Virtual signing and document approval can be done by one or multiple (up to 25) signatories and stakeholders.  

Adobe Acrobat Sign caters for the digital signing of documents, which is a more authoritative method of virtual signing than electronic signing (found in applications such as Adobe Fill and Sign). This fact sheet explains the difference and when each application could be used.

How does it work? 

Only UCT staff members can acquire an Acrobat Sign licence via the ICTS Acquisitions Services team

Your HOD or fund holder will need to approve your licence request. Although there is no cost to your department, the university incurs a cost per transaction. 

Once the licence is awarded, a document owner can either create a new document or use an existing preconfigured template to request signatures via Acrobat Sign: 

  • Each document sent is a single transaction that has an associated cost
  • Up to 25 signatories can interact with a single document


Associated costs

Each Acrobat Sign transaction costs the University approximately R20,00. It is important to note that this cost is subject to change without notice.The volume of your usage will be reported to your department.  


What documents do I use it for?

Due to the cost implications, we recommend using Acrobat Sign where there are external signatories to a document or when it is absolutely necessary to have authoritative and verified signatures with an audit trail, and when the cost can be justified. Examples of this would include employment contracts and vendor agreements. 

For all your other document signing needs, you can use an alternative application such as the Fill and Sign function in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.  

Where should my signed documents be stored?

While Acrobat Sign can be used to store documents, we have applied a retention policy, whereby documentation will only be saved there for 60 days. Thereafter, it will be deleted.

It is therefore recommended that once the signing process is completed, that the final document be sent to the record owner for archiving as per standard UCT processes.

Acrobat Sign is therefore not a repository, but merely a tool for facilitating the electronic signing of documentation.

Record management recommendations:

  • Even though each signatory receives a copy of the final signed document, the record owner* must ensure that the final version of the signed documentation and records are stored in a central location, such as the UCT Records Management System (Perceptive Content), once the relevant process has been completed.
  • Ensure all documents are signed within 60 days.
  • Do not keep duplicate records.


*NOTE: The record owner is responsible for the final signed document. This person may be different to the Initiator of the signing process, who begins and monitors e-signing transactions. For detailed descriptions of all the various role-players in the signing process, consult the definition list below.


User Instructions

Getting started

  1. Log a request with the ICTS Acquisitions team to get an Adobe Sign licence. On the request form you will need to provide:
    • Who the licence is for
    • Who the approver of the request is (either HOD or fund holder)
    • Any additional information
  2. Click Submit.
  3. An email will be sent to the HOD or fund holder for approval. Upon approval the licence will be assigned to you.
  4. You will receive a Get Started with Adobe Acrobat Sign email. Click the provided button to access Acrobat Sign.

    IMPORTANT: Some UCT staff may already have a UCT Adobe account because they are using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Creative Cloud. Alternatively, you may have a personal Adobe account.
    If you already have an Adobe account, you will receive a second email requesting you to archive your existing account in order to use Adobe Sign. We recommend merging your UCT accounts, but not your personal accounts. 

    Should you have a personal Adobe account, always make sure that you login using your UCT email address and select Company or School account.
  5. On the Adobe landing page, click Company or School account.  
  6. You will be prompted to log on with UCT and password. 
  7. You will then need to verify your sign in with multifactor authentication. 
  8. You can now use Acrobat Sign. 

Set up your profile

The first time you access Adobe Acrobat Sign it is important that you review your personal information, as it will be used when working in this application. These include your full name, job title, company name and time zone.

  1. Hover over your name in the top right corner and click My Profile. The listed information is what will be used when personalising your transactions.
    • Full name: appears in emails and is used as your default typeset signature.
    • Job title: auto-populates the Title field, whenever listed
    • Company name: this will appear in all emails. It is therefore recommended that the full legal company name is used.
    • Time zone: your date and time will be used for reporting.
  2. Click Edit Profile if you need to update any of the listed information.
  3. Click Save when you’re done.
  4. Thereafter, set up your signature.


Navigating Acrobat Sign

Once you have successfully logged in to Acrobat Sign, you will be presented with a quick view of most Acrobat Sign features:

  • In Progress: the number of agreements created by you that are still in progress
    • By clicking on the number, the Manage page opens and displays the agreements
  • Waiting for you: the number of agreements that you need to action. Click the number, and on the Manage page, view the listed agreements that you need to see to
  • Events and alerts: click the number to view the Notifications page.
  • Request Signatures: links to the Send page, where you can also attach a Library document
  • Start from Library: select a template or workflow to get the process started for a new agreement.
  • Do more with Adobe Acrobat Sign: highlights additional features that you have access to

There are also four tabs, which is where you will spend of your time in Acrobat Sign:

  • Home: gives you an overview of most of the features of Acrobat Sign. 
  • Send: configure and send new documents. 
  • Manage lists all documents along with their status (link to section below)
  • Reports: provides an overview of the various documents’ status 


Send a document for signature

Sending documents and collecting signatures and approvals is what Acrobat Sign is tailor-made for.  Before you start, please take note of our recommended naming conventions (link) for the documents you will be working with.

  1. Log on to Acrobat Sign at and click the Send tab.
  2. In the Recipients section
    • Indicate if the form needs to be signed in a particular order, or in any order using the Complete in Order or Complete in Any Order toggle.

Complete in order

Complete in any order

Hybrid workflow

Recipients are placed in the order of which the form must be signed.

If the order needs to change, the individual’s name can be dragged to the correct spot.

All recipients receive the form at the same time and can digitally sign the document.

A combination of the two.

  1. Enter the recipient’s email addresses and click the pen icon to indicate what each person’s role should be:
    • Signer: verifies the form is completed correctly
    • Approver: approves the form

Note: the first time you use an email address, you will need to insert the whole address. Thereafter, Acrobat Sign will automatically pick up the email address as you start typing.

  1. Click Add Me if you need to be a part of the signatory process too.
  2. You also need to indicate how people should authenticate when signing the form:
    • Adobe Sign: they need to access the form via the online platform to sign
    • Email: they can access the document via the email they receive
    • A private message can also be sent to each individual, where applicable.
    • If there are individuals who don’t need to sign the document, but just need to be included in the email that gets sent, add their email addresses by clicking Show CC. They won’t be able to view the process but can see that the signatory process is underway.
  3. In the Message section
    • Enter the document name in the Agreement Name field.
    • Include a message or any specific instructions for signatories.
    • You can either Drag & Drop Files or click Add Files to select the file from the specific option.
      NOTE: there is a file size limit of 10MB for document uploads.
    • Select the Preview & Add Signature check box.
      NOTE: At the very least you need to add a signature field for each recipient. There are also additional fields to choose from. 
  4. Click Next.
  5. Acrobat Sign processes the document and allows you to indicate what each recipient should do on the document.
    • In the right-hand column, all the individuals that you added as signatories will appear under the Recipients section. Each recipient has a different colour to assist with managing what action they each need to take.
      • If all recipients need to complete the same action, you can select Everyone and select the applicable options from the Signature Fields section.
      • If specific individuals need to perform different actions on the form and then select the first recipient and from the Signature Fields section, drag all of the applicable options listed below on the form that the individual needs to action:
        • Signature
        • Initials
        • Signature Block
        • Stamp
      • Repeat this process for each individual, where applicable.
      • Click Signature Fields to insert additional fields:
        • Signature Info Fields: title, company, name, email and date (the date is automatically populated as the recipient completes the form).
        • Data Fields: text input, drop down, check box, radio button, image
        • More Fields: file attachment (if an individual needs to submit any supporting documentation) and hyperlinks
  6. These steps can be recreated for each form. If you’re planning on using the same form with the same signatories, once you’re done, click the Save as template check box.
  7. Click Sign, then Send.
  8. A Save as template pop up box appears. Update the document name, if necessary, and click Save and Send.
  9. The workflow will now start with the first signatory getting a notification to sign the document, if a particular order was selected. If no order was selected, each recipient will receive a notification to action the document.


Sign a document

Prerequisite: set up your signature ahead of time so that you can insert it without any issues when you’re requested to sign a document.

  1. For every document you’re required to sign, you will get an email notification. Click Review and sign.
  2. Depending on the authentication option selected by the document owner, the document will either open in a browser without you needing to login to Acrobat Sign, or you will need to log on to action the document.
  3. The sender’s message will appear in a pop-up box when the document opens.
  4. Click Start on the left of the document for the signing process to begin.
  5. You are directed to the field that you need to action. Click or tap inside the box.
    • If you need to insert Initials or you’re entering your Signature for the first time, a pop-up box appears allowing you to:
      • Type
      • Draw
      • Insert an image
      • Mobile: you’re required to enter your mobile number and click Send. You will get an SMS containing a link to access a drawing pad for you to draw you signature or initial. Click Done.
    • Click Apply.
  6. Click Next and action each additional field.
  7. When you’re done Click to Sign.
  8. A notification appears that you have successfully signed the document. The document owner will also receive email notifications of everyone who has signed the document. The document file name will contain unsigned at the end, until all recipients have signed the document.


Complete the signatory workflow

  1. Once the signatory process is completed, the document owner and recipients will receive a signed version of the document. A banner appears at the top of the document indicating that it has been certified by Acrobat Sign.
  2. The document owner can click the Signature Panel to see that the document has been validated. Click the dropdown arrow next to Validate All and click Validate all Signatures.
  3. A pop-up box appears asking Are you sure you want to validate all signatures?
    • Click OK.
  4. A confirmation box appears indicating that all signatures have been validated.
    • Click OK.


Working with templates and workflows

You can request assistance with a document template or workflow that will be used more than once and if there is a valid business case for it. For once off documents, we recommend using your current document and the signing process.

Requests for creating or updating existing custom workflows and/or custom templates must be submitted at least five days before the document is required and should contain the information outlined in ServiceNow.

Important: only Adobe Acrobat Sign users with administrator access can create custom, reusable templates and workflows. Please provide as much information as you can to facilitate the creation process.


Manage agreements

All parties of an Acrobat Sign agreement (i.e., sender, receiver, Cc’d party) will have access to the Manage page. This page lists agreements that you created, as well as those that you need to action. 

Most of the page is dedicated to agreements linked to you in some way or another: 

  • In progress
  • Waiting for you
  • Completed
  • Canceled
  • Expired
  • Draft

Filters are also available for templates, web forms and bulk emails. Alternatively, use the search bar to find an agreement using either an email address, agreement name, or recipient name. 


Reports page 

Reporting can help track how your documents are doing and where action is required to get input. Use the various filters to customise your reports


Adobe Acrobat Sign for Teams

Access your Adobe Acrobat Sign interface directly in Teams. This convenient and efficient method, allows you to manage and process transactions without having to open a web browser.

To access this, simply install the Adobe Sign app:

  1. Open Microsoft Teams and in the lower left section of the window click the Apps icon.
  2. In the Search field, type Adobe Acrobat Sign.
  3. Click the Adobe Acrobat Sign app.
  4. Click the Add button.
  5. On the popup, click Connect.
  6. Teams will connect to Adobe Acrobat Sign. You will also receive confirmation and welcome messages in Teams.
  7. Sign in to Adobe Acrobat Sign to get started.

For more information, consult the Adobe Sign for Teams user guide.


Adobe Acrobat Sign on your mobile devices 

The mobile application only allows you to sign documentation. You can therefore either access the document via the link emailed you to or install the Acrobat Sign mobile application and access the documentation from there.


Get help

Adobe Resources

Request assistance




Terms and definitions

e-signing definitions


Electronic signatures (e-signatures)

  • This is any electronic process that indicates acceptance of an agreement, record or contract. Electronic signatures can use several methods to authenticate the identity of signatories. (Adobe Acrobat Sign)


Digital signatures

  • These are electronic signatures that use a certificate-based digital ID to authenticate the identity of the signatories. Each signature is bound to the document with encryption through trusted certificates. Digital signature solutions can include audit trails, automatic delivery of the final document and options for explicit consent. Adobe Acrobat Sign is a digital signature solution. (Adobe Acrobat Sign)

E-signature system

  • This combines an electronic means of authenticating a user (such as access to an email account) with a secure process that produces an audit trail appended to each signed document. (Adobe Acrobat Sign)

Enhanced signatures

  • This is where multifactor authentication is used to verify the identity of signatories. Presented with a unique URL they must complete a challenge before opening the document. Commonly used challenges include phone PINs, social IDs, passwords, or knowledge-based authentication (KBA). (Adobe Acrobat Sign)


Adobe Acrobat Sign commonly used terms

Adobe Acrobat Sign: Documents/ files/ attachments

  • Documents, files or attachments are all individual files that are uploaded to the Acrobat Sign system. They constitute the components that make up the Agreement. (Adapted from source: Adobe)

Adobe Acrobat Sign: Agreements

  • Agreements are the contracts, documents or forms that Acrobat Sign creates from your uploaded files, which recipients must fill and/or sign. "Agreement" is the term used to define both the object during the process of obtaining signatures and the final PDF that is generated. (Adapted from source: Adobe)

Adobe Acrobat Sign: Transactions

  • Transactions describe both the Agreement and all of the associated logging and documentation generated that is associated with the agreement along the way. (e.g. Audit reports, authentication results, field-level data .csv pages). (Adapted from source: Adobe)

Adobe Acrobat Sign: Terminal state

  • A terminal state is achieved when the Agreement has no further actions that can be taken by recipients to complete it. 
  • There are three terminal states:
  • Complete: Achieved when the agreement completes all processes with all recipients successfully.
  • Abandoned: An abandoned agreement has been stopped by either being cancelled by the sender, declined by the recipient, failed due to a recipient authentication failure or failed due to a system error.
  • Expired: Agreements that reach their expiry date due to inaction within the set time period. (Adapted from source: Adobe)


Acrobat Sign user roles



Adobe Acrobat Sign licensed roles

  • Adobe Acrobat Sign administrator: manages account and maintains global configuration and access.
  • Adobe Acrobat Sign user: initiates and monitors transactions (see also: initiator)

Adobe Acrobat Sign roles

  • Initiator: Acrobat Sign user who initiates and monitors e-signing transactions.
  • Signer: UCT staff member, student, third party or external parties who are requested to e-sign a transaction but do not need an Adobe Acrobat Sign license to do so.
  • Process owner: UCT staff member whose job role is responsible for a UCT process.
  • Record owner: UCT staff member whose job role is responsible for the final signed record/document which is used in a UCT process (this is often fulfilled by the same job role as the process owner of the applicable process).