Use Adobe Sign to create e-signature documents

Iowa State is in the process of replacing DocuSign with Adobe Sign as its designated software for internal electronic contracts and documents or web forms requiring signatures. This includes business and human resources processes in Workday and units such as student financial aid, registrar, residence or information technology services (ITS).

The move to Adobe Sign mostly impacts employees who create documents for e-signatures. Starting immediately, they should use Adobe Sign. This week, ITS software development manager Jim Hurley provided "initiator" status to nearly 230 employees who had similar access in DocuSign. Initiators will receive an email from ITS Feb. 10 confirming their access, and they'll find an Adobe Sign tile on their Okta dashboard.

Employees who didn't receive the tile but want to request initiator status should submit the online form for Adobe Sign in the IT service portal, located in the software category.

Generally, those who only sign documents routed to them will be required to agree to Adobe's use terms and privacy policy the first time they use Adobe Sign to sign a document.

Export signed documents you want to keep

Iowa State's contract with DocuSign expires April 29. After that -- and only through July -- employees will be able to read and export their documents, but they won't be able to modify them or start new ones. After July 31, DocuSign will purge all Iowa State documents in its system.

Hurley encouraged employees to export PDF files of any documents they want to keep for future reference. PDF files of blank templates can be exported and uploaded to Adobe Sign, but signed documents won't transfer to the new software, he said.

Hurley's team was able to export all Iowa State document templates from DocuSign, though owners aren't apparent in the template titles. If you want a copy of a template to import to Adobe Sign, contact ITS at and include the template title(s) in your request.

Why a change?

With the DocuSign contract up for renewal this spring and following a customer survey in 2021, procurement services opted to investigate other options for e-signature software and issued a request for proposals. If Iowa State stayed with DocuSign, the cost was going to more than triple on May 1. The switch to Adobe Sign is expected to save the university about $125,000 annually.

Iowa State's three-year contract for Adobe Sign began Nov. 1. After integrating it with other campus systems, last month ITS invited some 20 employees in a dozen departments to serve as early adopters and help identify any issues.

Questions about the change may be emailed to