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Tips for Better DocuSign Documents

Follow these tips to improve your DocuSign documents.

Best practices

  • Cut your questions and information down to only core components, required for legal purposes.
  • If you don’t absolutely need the data, don’t ask for it.
  • Use clear and simple language, ask for standardized data. Use a drop-down menu when possible.
  • No opt-in by default.
    • Avoid pre-filling fields.
    • Always require a call for action to ensure that your users are informed.
  • Display hints or auto-format whenever possible. Take the guesswork out of using your form.


  • Use a top-down layout when possible. Ask questions in sequence.
  • Break the form into several easy steps.
  • Limit each section to one type of information, grouped by workflow, or by subject.


  • Screen layout is not the same as Paper. Print design doesn’t have to be translated to electronic format.
  • Calls to options should be obvious. Don’t bury checkboxes or blanks in a wall of text.
  • Don't use the space bar to align or indent text.
  • Left align text for readability.
  • Form fields should be used as blanks to be filled. Forms with multiple form fields per line are difficult to follow.

Additional considerations

  • Know your compliance requirements. They’ll depend on what types of data you collect and what your department does with that data. For example, you may need to comply with FERPA, Section 508c, PCI, or UC policies.
  • Be aware of collecting and storing sensitive information.
    • Don’t collect data that you don’t need. With every question you ask, it’s necessary to think about why you need the answer, how you’ll use the information, and whether it’s consistent with respondent expectations and data privacy laws.
    • Don’t store data longer than you have to. You shouldn’t hold onto data indefinitely, especially if you’re safeguarding sensitive information. Your department may have specific data retention requirements, but they should work within UC policies.
  • Control who accesses the data. Keep track of who has access to what, and don’t share passwords. Data privacy is critical - access should be on a need-to-know basis.

Additional resources

Form Usability Treasure Trove

Contact with questions.