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What is a signature request and how to use it
Electronic Signatures

What Is a Signature Request (and How to Use It)

Will Cannon

Last updated on January 25, 2024

In this article, you’ll learn what a signature request is and how to use it properly.

We’ll also talk about:

  • Why you should send signature requests online
  • How to request a signature online
  • How to request a signature in person
  • The best tools to use to request and complete a signature

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to ask for a signature and which tools you should use to make the whole signing process as quick and easy as possible.

Let’s get started.

What Is a Signature Request? 

A signature request is a process by which you ask someone to sign your document either in person or online.

The signature request is vital to the success of the signing process since it dictates how quickly the document will be signed or if it will be signed at all.

This is why it’s important to know how to request a signature and to have the right tools to guarantee the signature will be completed.

Benefits of Sending a Signature Request Online

There are many reasons why online signature requests are better than handwritten signature requests.

They’re Easier

Asking for a signature online is as easy as selecting the right email template, filling it out, and sending it through a message or email.

There’s no forgetting important details or worrying about your tone or wording. Once the template is set up, your signature requests will be easy to complete.

They’re Faster

You don’t need to wait until your signee can send a signature request. An email can be sent anytime, and your signee can read it at their earliest convenience.

When you send the signature request, they’ll receive it immediately, regardless of where they are or what they’re doing: no more tracking documents or missing the postman.

Sending multiple signature requests is as simple as adding additional email addresses to the right platform and letting the platform do the repetitive personalization tasks.

They’re Cheaper

Since you’re not paying for physical mailing expenses, driving anywhere, or meeting anyone, you’ll spend less time and money asking people for their signatures.

You also don’t have to pay for printers, ink, or paper because everything is done electronically. This leads us to the next point.

They’re Greener

Have you ever had to print a multiple-page document because of a misprint or a misspelled word? This is wasteful and leads to a larger carbon footprint—all for the sake of one signature.

Online signature requests are greener because you don’t need to waste ink or paper, and electricity is saved in asking for the signature.

They’re Safer

Contrary to what many people may believe, online signatures are far safer and as legally-binding as physical signatures.

Starting with the signature request, all process steps are saved online, and the signatures themselves collect enough online information to legally record the intent and connect it to the person signing it.

So, how do you ask for a signature online and in person?

5+ Ways to Request a Signature From Clients and Colleagues

Here are several ways to request signatures from your clients and colleagues.

How to Request an E-Signature

Requesting a signature online is easy as long as you have the right tools. Here’s how to do it:

Using Electronic Signature Software

The best way to start the online signature process is by using an online signature tool such as Signaturely.

Signaturely is one of the easiest tools you can use to request and provide signatures online. All that is required is to create a free Signaturely account and connect it to your Google Drive. Next, prepare your online signature by drawing, typing, or uploading an existing one.

Signaturely is one of the easiest tools you can use to request and provide signatures online

We have an online signature generator. If you’re drawing your signature, you can adjust the thickness and color of the line. You can personalize it by choosing from various fonts and colors if you’re typing it.

Signaturely is one of the easiest tools you can use to request and provide signatures online

Once your signature is ready, it’s time to prepare your document.

Signaturely helps you work faster and more efficiently with secure and legally binding eSignatures.

Signaturely will first ask who will sign the contract when preparing a document for signing. That way, Signaturely can adapt its process to your signers.

You can also choose the order in which you wish to have your document signed. Signaturely will send the document from one person to the next instead of sending it to everyone simultaneously.

After this, you can upload your file from Google Drive and fill in the signature fields with your choice of options, such as signatures, initials, dates, text boxes, or checkboxes.

Save the file and send your signature request when you have finished. Your signers will receive a signature request that looks like this:

Your signers will receive this message to sign your Google Doc.

Once the recipients of the signature request click “Review & Sign,” Signaturely will guide them through the process of creating their signature and signing the contract.

This signature request is particularly effective because it naturally guides your signees from the signature request to completing the signing process, explaining how to sign the contract online to simplify the process, even if they have never done it before.

  • Very simple
  • Very safe
  • Convenient process
  • Start for free
  • Send multiple signature requests
  • Guided experience for signees 
  • Not always available as a mobile app 
  • Not as personal as face-to-face contact

Asking for a Signature Request via Email

If you choose not to use signature software to add signature fields to your document, you’ll have to send your document as an attachment to an email.

If you choose not to use a signature software to add signature fields to your document, you'll have to send your document as an attachment to an email.

In this case, the wording of your signature request will be very important since it will tell your signees whether or not they should sign or even open the attachment.

Start by thinking about how you will address the person to whom you’re sending the signature request. You will want this email to be an extension of your usual communication.

If you haven’t personally established communication with your recipient, it’s always better to be too formal than informal.

Keep the email short. Let them know who you are, why you’re sending the document, and what you request of them.

Finally, read your email twice and confirm you’ve attached the document before sending it. You don’t want to send a beautifully written email just to be followed by a quick “whoops, I forgot to attach the file” message.

  • Very simple process
  • It saves time and money
  • Not a great approach for people with no electronic signature experience
  • It doesn’t allow for much personalization
  • Not great when you require multiple signers

Signature Request via File Sharing Service

If you're using a sharing service, like Dropbox, you can request a signature through an electronic signature platform or the file sharing service.

If you’re using a sharing service like Dropbox, you can request a signature in one of two ways:

By using an electronic signature platform

Most electronic signature platforms integrate with the most popular file-sharing services. All you need to do is follow the steps from the option “using electronic signature software” to get people’s signatures.

By sending them through the file-sharing service

Most file-sharing services allow you to share your files with someone else directly on the platform. However, you must ensure your signature request is appropriate and doesn’t go unnoticed.

You’ll often be required to limit your characters, so use your words wisely. And, since you can’t explain very much in the message, make sure your recipient is expecting the file.

Finally, ensuring that your recipient has received the document never hurts. Ask them to confirm or email them to check up on them and ask for an estimate for when you can expect their signature.

  • Very easy process
  • It saves you time and money
  • It May take longer to solve their issues
  • It may not be appropriate to request a signature through such short messages
  • It doesn’t allow for much personalization

How to Request a Regular Signature

Here’s how to ask for a standard “ink” signature:

Signature Request in Person

If you’re going to ask for a signature in person, make sure you’re getting all the benefits you don’t get from requesting a signature online.

Whenever possible, set up an appointment to request a signature. If you can’t set up an appointment, find out when they’re generally available, like right after a lunch break or after a meeting you both attended.

When requesting a signature, tell the potential signee why it is important and explain what you ask them to commit to with their signature. Answer any questions they may have.

Finally, let them know when you’ll be presenting them with the documents they need to sign, and make sure you fulfill your part by providing them with the documents on time.

  • Very personal approach
  • It can get you signatures quickly
  • Allows you to be there for the whole signing process
  • Very quick and easy to solve their questions
  • Requires both parties to be together at the same time
  • Requires printed documents

Signature Request via Mail

Sometimes, due to time commitments or geographical location, you cannot see the other person face to face, and you will be required to send the documents and the signature request by regular mail.

If you’re sending everything together, position your signature request so that it’s the first thing they see upon opening the package. This can be done in the way you package it. Another option is to attach the document that needs a signature in a second envelope, so when they open their parcel, they will see both your signature request and the unopened document to sign.

Structure the signature request like any other letter, explaining which documents require a signature and how and where to sign. Make sure to include instructions for sending the signed documents back. Attach your phone number in case they have any questions.

It’s better if the letter is typed and printed rather than handwritten, but don’t forget to sign it by hand.

  • Convenient when you have to send the document
  • Allows for the signer to sign at their own convenience
  • Time-consuming
  • It gives the signer the extra responsibility of returning the documents
  • Can be the most expensive option
  • Any mistakes can quickly double the signing time

How Signaturely Simplifies the Process of Signature Requests

Signaturely can not only request signatures but handle your whole signing process.

Electronic signatures made simple

Signaturely streamlines your signing process by allowing you and your signees to create electronic signatures for free online.

To add signatures to all your documents, you just need to upload them to the Signaturely platform and use the drag-and-drop editor to add the required signature fields to your document.

Signaturely also allows you to send your document with a personalized message and assign a signing order if necessary.

Finally, Signaturely explains to your signers what they need to do and guides them throughout the process, preventing them from contacting you to answer simple questions and making the signing process as quick as possible.

Legal electronic signatures

Signaturely saves all the data from you and your signers to make all of the signatures legally binding. The Signaturely platform also saves a legal backup of all your documents, so even if you lose the file or delete it by accident, it will never be truly lost.

Signaturely records a digital stamp with each signature, which makes it easy to track the document back to the signee. This digital stamp holds up in court and can be used as evidence if needed.

Sign everything faster

With Signaturely, your team can collaborate when writing documents, so you won’t have to go back and forth with them in person and can quickly correct any issues on the document.

If you need a lot of signatures, Signaturely can handle it. Simply select your documents, select your signees, send the documents, and repeat. It’s really that simple.

Signaturely also has powerful integrations to trigger an automatic start on your projects when you get the green light from your signees.

With Signaturely, you get quick, simple, legally-binding signatures in just minutes.


Signature requests are the first step to getting recipients to sign your documents. To write an effective signature request, remember who you’re writing to and make sure you meet their expectations.

An electronic signature platform is the easiest way to send an effective signature request. Sign up for Signaturely for free today, and send signature requests that actually get signatures.

Create a free Signaturely account today!

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