How to Add Custom Fields to Docusign Documents Before Sending

Adding custom fields to Docusign documents allows you to collect additional data from recipients beyond just their signature. This can help streamline your workflows by eliminating the need to manually match signed documents back to your internal systems.

Overview of Custom Fields in Docusign

There are three types of custom fields you can add in Docusign:

Envelope Custom Fields

These fields allow you to store metadata about the envelope that is not visible to recipients. For example, you may want to store an order number or customer ID to relate the envelope back to a record in your database.

Document Custom Fields

These fields allow you to store metadata directly related to a document in the envelope. For example, if you include the same document multiple times in an envelope but want to track each instance separately.

Recipient Custom Fields

These fields allow you to store metadata related to a specific recipient in the envelope. For example, storing an ID to relate the recipient back to a record in your database.


  • Eliminate manual matching of envelopes back to records
  • Streamline workflows by prefilling data
  • Store metadata for advanced searching and reporting

Creating Custom Fields in Docusign

Envelope and Recipient Custom Fields

You can create envelope and recipient custom fields directly in your Docusign account. Just log in and go to Preferences -> Signing & Sending -> Custom Fields.

From here you can:

  • Click Add New Field to create a new custom field
  • Edit or delete existing custom fields

When creating a new custom field, you can specify:

  • Field name
  • Type (text, list, date, etc.)
  • Associated recipient (recipient fields only)
  • Other validation rules

Document Custom Fields

Document custom fields need to be created at the template level rather than the account level.

To create a document custom field:

  1. Create or edit an existing template
  2. Click Settings in the top toolbar
  3. Click Add Document Field
  4. Specify the name, type, validation rules, etc.
  5. Click Save

Now this custom field will be available for any envelopes created from that template.

Adding Custom Fields to Envelopes

Once you’ve created your custom fields, adding them to envelopes is easy.

For envelope and recipient custom fields:

  1. When creating an envelope, click Show Optional Fields
  2. The custom fields section will appear – fill in any values needed here

For document custom fields:

  1. Add the document to the envelope from the appropriate template
  2. The custom fields will automatically appear in the field palette when you add fields to that document

Best Practices

Here are some best practices to follow when working with custom fields:

Use a naming convention

Use a prefix or suffix to indicate custom field types to keep them better organized. For example:

  • Envelope fields: ENV_OrderNumber
  • Recipient fields: RECIP_CustomerID
  • Document fields: DOC_InvoiceNumber

Map fields back to your database

Store the same values from your database in the custom fields so you can easily relate envelopes after they are completed. Unique IDs work best for this.

Use templates

Add document custom fields at the template level whenever possible so you don’t have to re-create them for every envelope.

Consider field locations

Think about the logical document flow when placing fields so recipients are guided seamlessly through signing.

Example Workflow

Here is an example of how you can use custom fields to streamline your workflows:

  1. A customer places an online order in your database and gets assigned an Order ID
  2. When the order is ready for payment, you create a Docusign envelope and add an ENV_OrderID field with the order ID value
  3. You add your payment form document from a template with a DOC_InvoiceNumber field
  4. The customer receives the envelope and adds their signature and bank account details
  5. On envelope completion, the Order ID field lets you match the envelope to the order record in your database for processing
  6. The Invoice Number document field helps distinguish between multiple payment form instances

This allows the entire workflow to be automated rather than having to manually match up data.


While custom fields are very useful, some limitations to be aware of include:

  • Number of fields – There are limits to how many total custom fields you can have in an account
  • Changing field types – Once a custom field is created, you cannot change it to another type
  • Moving fields – There may be restrictions on moving document fields between templates


Adding custom fields to Docusign allows you to store additional metadata that gets embedded right in the signed envelope. By mapping envelope, recipient, and document data back to your databases, you can eliminate manual matching and accelerate your workflows. Just be aware of some of the limitations with custom fields as you integrate them into your documents and processes.