Although DocPrepper was originally built to give the document originator the ability to show where each person in the workflow needed to sign - including pre-populated user info fields that the originator could place on the document where required (i.e. Name, Date, Email Address & Contact Number) - this feature has become so much more. 


In March 2017 SignFlow Version 3.2.0.0 saw the addition of Advanced Form Fields - something that has taken this once humble document prepping feature to a whole new level. 


Let's go through the Doc Prepper process, after which you will release your document and the workflow process will be complete...


So, you clicked Go to Doc Prepper at the end of the Create New Workflow process and now have a page that looks something like the image below (your document thumbnail and image on the left; and your field options on the right) in front of you: 



Step one is to choose the user you want to action the document. You simply click on the relevant name. 


Now, going through step two for each of the four sub-sections: 



1. Signature Placing


There are two options here: Signature Field (left icon) and Initial Field (right icon). A signature field is the graphical representation of the signer’s signature - either in the form of a font-based signature or a custom signature. This field is not resizable and is a standard 250 x 150 pixels. An initial field is a shortened version of a full signature, representing the initials of the person


1.1 Signature Field 

  1. Click on the name of the signer (Choose a person, in the image below)
  2. Click on an action tag (Signature Field or Initial Field).
    The action tag will appear on the left-hand side of the document. 
  3. Drag the action tag to the desired location and size it as needed.
  4. Click Click to Affix to secure the field in this position. 
  5. Once the box is affixed, it will read "[name of signer] SIGN HERE".
  6. You can redo the placing if you make a mistake at any time (before releasing the document), by clicking the X on the top right of the signature box, and starting over.
  7. Repeat this for each person that needs to sign the document. 



1.2 Initial Field 


Initialling was historically used to bind contract pages together into one document to prevent pages being added after all the parties had initialled and signed the document. 


Strictly speaking, the initial is a mark, and therefore one would think it constitutes a form of “signature”, but we are yet to find reference to it in law. We can therefore draw the conclusion that the initial is nothing more than a method to bind the agreement together. In the electronic world - and especially using SignFlow digital signatures - the document is locked for editing and becomes tamper-evident after signing, thereby eliminating the need for initialling.


Using the initialling option, you can have the signer initial on every page, or selected pages. This function does not make use of cryptographic digital signatures; it simply applies an image of the initial to the document where it is applied. This type of signature is still an electronic signature, which is binding and auditable via the audit log in SignFlow.


Although redundant in the world of digital signatures, SignFlow offers this service to its users in the form of an electronic signature.


The SignFlow team added initialling for two reasons:


1. It caters for customers that are accustomed to seeing initialling on pages, and who want to keep this culture going on electronically-signed documents.


2. Because the initial is an electronic signature, it places far less overheads on the document. It is recommended that initials are used instead of overloading a document with digital signature fields, which will slow the signing experience down.


This is how it works:

  1. Click the name of the person you need to initial a page/pages (unless already selected).
  2. A square pink box will appear on the left-hand side of your document.
  3. Drag this to where you want the person to initial, and drop. 
  4. You will be asked whether you want to apply this initial field to all pages. 
  5. If you select Yes, the initial box will be duplicated automatically on all pages of the document, in the same position on each page.
  6. Select No if you only require the recipient to initial the current page. 
  7. Once you have selected Yes or No, the Initial Field is applied and the arrow icon in the initial box will be replaced by "INI".
  8. If you want to remove the initial field, you can do so by clicking on the red X in the top-right corner. If you have set the initial field for all pages, you will be given the option of removing the field from all pages, or just the current page.




2. Form Field Placing


There are five different options here, as per the five icons. From left to right, these are: Mandatory Open Text Field; Non-Mandatory Open Text Field; Checkbox Field; Checkbox Group and Dropdown Field.  


2.1 Mandatory Open Text Field


  1. Click the name of the person you need to fill in the mandatory text field (unless already selected).
  2. As with Signature Placing, the text box (which, unlike a signature field, you can resize) will appear on the left-hand side of the document.
  3. Move the Mandatory Text Field box to the correct place on the document and size it to your liking. 
  4. Click to affix.
  5. In the image below, Company Name and Registration Number are mandatory text fields, and the user will not be able to move on to signing the document without filling these in.

NOTE: When resizing the text box, bear in mind the amount of information that is expected to be filled in. If the box is too small for the information that needs to be entered, some of the text will be hidden.






2.2 Non-Mandatory (optional) Open Text Field


Take the same steps as in 1. Mandatory Open Text Field above. 


The difference with this form field is, as the name suggests, the recipient does not have to fill it in, and will be able to move on to signing the document without doing so, should they so wish. 


Examples of when you may use this include when you are asking for a voluntary opinion or comment, or when there is information that needs to be optional, like Fax Number. 



2.3 Checkbox Field


  1. Again, first click on the name of the signer, unless already selected.
  2. Click on the Checkbox Field icon.
  3. The checkbox will appear on the left-hand side of the document.
  4. Unlike text fields, this box cannot be resized, and is affixed automatically when you drag it to the desired location on the document and release. (You can still redo this as many times as you want, using the X.)



NOTE: This is a non-mandatory/optional field and users do not need to tick this in order to move on to signing. Do not use this when there is information you must get from the signer. 




2.4 Checkbox Group (mandatory fields)


Use these when you need to get compulsory information from a document recipient, and when the recipient needs to choose between different prescribed options (e.g. "Yes", "No", "Unsure"). Depending on the way you configure these fields, they can replace radio buttons.


  1. Again, first click on the name of the signer if not already selected.
  2. Clicking on the Checkbox Group icon brings up a menu (as in the image below), which gives you 3 options, i.e. Add Checkbox, Save Checkbox Group & Cancel Checkbox Group.


  3. Click Add Checkbox.
  4. The checkbox will appear on the left-hand side of the document.
  5. Again, this box cannot be resized, and is affixed automatically when you drag it to the desired location on the document and release. (You can still redo this as many times as you want, using the X.)
  6. Repeat this process, placing as many boxes as are needed in the desired locations. In the example below, I require six checkboxes for three statements the recipient must respond to, each with a "Yes" and "No" option.

    NB: When placing checkboxes, be sure to make sure they do not overlap any text on the document. We recommend using double-line spacing in between options if you are working with a Word document that will include checkboxes (this will ensure the boxes don't eclipse any text).



  7. Clicking Cancel Checkbox Group will take you back to where you have to click on the name of the signer, and you will have to start the checkbox group process again. 

  8. Once you have placed all the checkboxes you need to, click Save Checkbox Group.

  9. The Checkbox Group Settings box (below) will immediately pop up:



  10. Enter the minimum and maximum number of checkboxes you need to be ticked by the signer. (The signer will not be able to move on to signing if these are not ticked, or if the incorrect number has been ticked. The system will prompt and guide the document recipient as to the correct number of boxes to tick, as well as alert them to the fact that they need to choose between the different options. 

Click Save Settings.



2.5 Dropdown Field (mandatory)


Again, this field must be filled in by the recipient, otherwise they cannot move on to signing. It helps you ensure recipients don't fill in unwanted answers on your document/contract. 


In the example below, an insurance company needs to know what kind of insurance the signer is interested in. The document originator simply needs to ask a question (on the document) and provide dropdown fields with a variety of possible answers (in the dropdown field in DocPrepper). 


  1. Click on the signer's name if need be.
  2. Click on the Dropdown Field icon.
  3. A single text box will appear on the left-hand side of the document. 
  4. Move the box to the desired location (next to the question or statement that needs to be responded to). You can resize this according to your text length.



  5. As soon as you click Click to affix, the Add Values to Dropdown field box will appear:



  6. Start by filling in the first option, in the box under Please Select.
  7. Click the blue + icon (Add line) to bring up the next box, and fill in the next option you want to appear on the signer's dropdown field.
  8. Repeat this process until all the options you wish to include are completed. You can delete your entries at any time by clicking on the reddelete icon.

    NOTE: While you can enter as many dropdown options as you wish, we recommend keeping it to a maximum of ten, to avoid the box eclipsing any of the other text on the document.
  9. Click Save.



3. Set User Info Fields


There are four different options (pre-populated fields) here, as per the icons above. From left to right, these are: Name Field, Date Field, Email Address and Contact Number.


3.1 Name Field

This is where the name of the signer that is signing the document, as entered when they’ve registered on the SignFlow system, will go. This is a resizable field.


3.2 Date Field

This field will ultimately show the date the document was signed. You will notice when setting up your document in DocPrepper, that the date will initially be shown as the date the field was placed. As soon as the recipient signs the document, this changes to the signing date. 

NOTE: This date is received from our servers, and not the local machine. This is a security feature preventing users from turning back their local clocks and signing documents in the past


3.3 Email Address

The signer's email address, as entered when the user registered on the SignFlow system, will be pre-populated in this field. This is a resizable field.


3.4 Contact Number

The signer’s telephone number, as entered when the user registered on the SignFlow system, will be pre-populated in this field. This is a resizable field.


The steps for all of the above user info fields are the same. You can use all or some of these when setting up a workflow - or you may choose to use none.

  1. Click on the name of the person you want to place the info field for.
  2. The info field box will appear on the left-hand side of the document, with a "Click to Affix" box in the middle. 
  3. Drag the field box to the desired location and size it as needed. 
  4. Click Click to Affix to secure the field in this position. You can redo the placing if you make a mistake at any time, by clicking the X on the top right of the box, and starting over.



4. Face-to-Face Fields


Face-to-Face gives the signer the opportunity to witness a third party signing a document with an electronic signature (created with a mouse, signature pad, tablet or smartphone), which SignFlow then converts into a certified cryptographic digital signature. These signatures are produced in the presence of a SignFlow user, who then also signs the document with their SignFlow digital signature, positioning them as a witness.


Face-to-face signatures are ideal for agreements that need to be signed in the presence of a witness, for instance contractual signing between an attorney and his client, or contracts prescribed by Law (i.e National Credit Act) requiring the presence of a witness. These signatures are compliant with Law and can legally replace wet ink signatures.


You can place either a Face-to-Face Signature Field (left icon) or a Face-to-Face Initial Field (right icon): 


4.1 Face-to-Face Signature Field

  1. Click on the name of the person you want to place the Face-to-Face Signature Field for.
  2. The Face-to-Face Signature Field box will appear on the left-hand side of the document, with a "Click to Affix" box in the middle. 
  3. Drag the field box to the desired location (it is not resizable).  
  4. Click Click to Affix to secure the field in this position. 
  5. Once affixed, the box will read "Face-to-Face Signee". 
  6. Repeat this process for as many third-party signers as you require. 
  7. You can redo the placing if you make a mistake at any time (before releasing the document), by clicking the X on the top right of the box, and starting over.



4.2 Face-to-Face Initial Field

  1. Click the name of the person you need to initial a page/pages.
  2. A square pink box will appear on the left-hand side of your document.
  3. Drag this to where you want the person to initial, and drop (this is not a resizable field). 
  4. You will be asked whether you want to apply this initial field to all pages. 
  5. If you select Yes, the initial box will be duplicated automatically on all pages of the document, in the same position on each page.
  6. Select No if you only require the recipient to initial the current page. 
  7. Once you have selected Yes or No, the Initial Field is applied and the arrow icon in the initial box will be replaced by "INI".
  8. If you want to remove the initial field, you can do so by clicking on the red X in the top-right corner. If you have set the initial field for all pages, you will be given the option of removing the field from all pages, or just the current page.



Step 3: Apply/save a template


The last thing you need to consider before moving on, is whether you want to save your document (including the various fields you have applied) as a template. that you can apply to the same document, for different signers, instead of redoing the whole process in future. 


If you choose to save your document as a template (left icon with up arrow), the template will remain exactly the same - with all of the same options - regardless of who you send it to. This feature is ideal for static application forms and contracts, where the only thing that differs in each case, is the signer. 

  1. Click the Save as Template icon.
  2. If you belong to a business profile, you will need to select the pre-defined group you want the template to be stored in.
  3. If you are a private user, step two does not apply.
  4. Type in the relevant template name and click on the blue + to confirm the name.
  5. Click Save.



The Load a Template option is what you would use on landing on the DocPrepper page, before placing any fields. All of the templates you saved, as in Save as Template above, will appear in the Please Select drop-down menu in the Load Document Template box that pops up when you click the icon. Again, only if you belong to a business profile will you see the top bar with drop-down group options. 


  1. Click the Load a Template icon.
  2. Click on the top box to select the group to which your saved template belongs (if applicable).
  3. Click on the Please Select box and select the template you wish to apply.
  4. Click Load.


The selected template will be applied to the document and you will have saved yourself a heap of time, seeing as you did not have to go through the process of clicking, placing, sizing and affixing all the relevant fields again. 


Below is an example of a saved template that was loaded on the same document going to a different signer. It gives an idea of the time-saving value this feature holds:



And that's it - you've just experienced some of the digital power, speed and efficiency SignFlow has to offer. All that's left to do, is send your document out...