How To Modify and Update eSignatures in DocuSign Web Service

DocuSign is a popular eSignature service that allows users to electronically sign documents and agreements. Once a document is signed, users may need to make updates or modifications to the signatures. Here is a guide on how to modify and update eSignatures in DocuSign:

Accessing Signed Documents

To make changes to signed documents, you first need to access them. Here are the steps:

  • Log in to your DocuSign account
  • Go to the Sent tab to view documents you have sent out for signature
  • Open the envelope for the document you want to modify
  • Click the document name to view the completed document

Once opened, you can view the document and the applied signatures.

Editing Signed Documents

If changes need to be made to the document content after signing, DocuSign allows senders to unlock documents to enable editing. Here is the process:

1. Unlock the PDF

  • Open the signed document in your DocuSign account
  • Click Unlock PDF to enable editing capabilities

2. Download and Edit

  • Download a copy of the unlocked PDF to your computer
  • Open the PDF in an editor like Adobe Acrobat
  • Make the required content changes and save the file

3. Upload Edited Version

  • Return to the DocuSign document
  • Click Upload New Version and select the edited file from your computer
  • The edited version will replace the existing document in the envelope

Once re-uploaded, the envelope will now contain the modified document.

Modifying Applied Signatures

If you need to modify or update the applied eSignatures within an envelope, DocuSign allows for signature deletion and re-application.

Delete Existing Signatures

To remove any signatures that have already been applied:

  • Open the envelope containing the document
  • Go to the Recipients tab
  • Locate the signer whose signature needs removal
  • Click Other Actions and select Delete Signature

This will void the existing signature, allowing you to capture a new one from the signer.

Request New Signature

After removing the unwanted signature, you can request a new one from the signer:

  • Go to the Recipients tab for the envelope
  • Select the signer
  • Click Other Actions and choose Request Signature

This will re-send the document to the recipient for new signature. They can then apply an updated signature.

Receive and View New Signature

Once the signer applies their new signature and completes their signing session, you can view the updated envelope by:

  • Opening the envelope
  • Clicking on the document to view the signatures
  • Verifying that the new signature has been applied

The envelope will now contain the modified document with updated eSignatures.

Best Practices

When modifying envelopes and signatures in DocuSign, follow these best practices:

  • Maintain audit trails: Modifications create new envelope versions and voided signatures. Keep audits to track changes.
  • Check permissions: Only envelope senders can unlock PDFs and manage signatures. Recipients cannot modify completed envelopes.
  • Review legal policies: If modifying signed contracts, review legal policies and check with qualified counsel if needed.
  • Enable notifications: Turn on notifications so signers are aware when signature re-submission is required.
  • Consider signer experience: Modifying signed documents can confuse signers. Keep requests infrequent and provide context.

Alternative Options

In some cases, modifying existing signed documents may not be the best approach. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Create new envelopes: Rather than modifying in-process envelopes, create new ones and re-send updated documents for signature. Old envelopes are voided.
  • Use correction workflows: DocuSign CLM allows you to chain together agreements, with new ones modifying previous agreements.
  • Leverage templates: If agreements require frequent updates, create templates that users can leverage to generate updated documents.


DocuSign provides flexibility to modify documents and signatures after signing is completed. The key capabilities include:

  • Unlocking PDFs to allow document editing after signing
  • Deleting existing signatures and requesting new ones
  • Receiving updated signatures that reflect changes
  • Maintaining audit trails and legal compliance

When making modifications, be aware of signer experience, legal requirements, and alternatives like new envelopes or templates.

Next Steps

To start modifying envelopes and signatures, sign up for a free DocuSign developer account. The REST API allows you to integrate eSignature workflows into your own applications.