Zoho Sign: Product Updates - Mid-2021

Zoho Sign: Product Updates - Mid-2021


We are halfway through 2021, and it has been a busy journey for us at Zoho Sign.

Driven by the rise in remote work culture, the adoption of e-signatures by businesses and other organizations has become increasingly widespread. Here's an outline of all the features and enhancements we have introduced in Zoho Sign over the past six months and a sneak peek of what is coming.

What's new?
  • Document sharing
  • Template sharing
  • Windows app for signing with USB Token DSC
  • Print and sign support for regional conventions
  • Document type and folder management
  • On-demand bulk backup to cloud
  • Short-hand text tags
  • Merge enhancements in bulk send
  • Enhancements to limiting responses in SignForms
  • Enhancements to field properties in Document Viewer
  • Email bounce notifications
  • Support for spreadsheet upload
Document sharing
Administrators can now enable document sharing between users across the organization, allowing users to access and track the documents of other users that have been shared with them. This enhancement can be accessed by visiting the Users section and selecting the desired users to share documents between. It allows for better collaboration without compromising on internal data privacy.

Template sharing
Functioning largely similar to the document sharing enhancement, this allows administrators to now choose the users whom they want to share each template with. This helps with segmented access and prevents templates from being readily accessible to all the users upon creation. However, the users with whom a template is shared can only view and use it. Template creation and management is still only accessible to the administrators.

Windows app for signing with USB Token DSC
Zoho Sign now offers a USB Signer app on Windows that enables users to digitally sign documents using a USB token or drive carrying their digital signature. A USB token for digital signature is a digital signature certificate (DSC) in a password-protected device and in the physical form. This digital signature certificate is self-acquired by the signing individual from a regional certificate authority or identity provider. This type of signature is also referred to as advanced electronic signatures (AeS) in some legal contexts. Thus, this now allows users to sign documents using their personal or organizational digital signatures. The app can be downloaded on Windows from the Microsoft Store.

Print and sign support for regional conventions
Signers can now download the documents sent to them for signature, sign them physically, and then upload a scan of the signed paper documents back onto Zoho Sign to complete the digital signature process. Zoho Sign will attach its digital signature certificate onto the scanned copy that was uploaded and then proceed with the sign workflow as defined by the sender. This is handy in scenarios where regional conventions dictate that signers must sign documents physically and also maintain a copy in the form of signed paper documents. Alternatively, senders may also upload a scan of the signed paper documents they receive from signers, physically or via fax, on behalf of the signer and mark their signing activity as completed to advance the workflow onto the next recipient.

Document type and folder management
Users can now manage their document types and folders in Zoho Sign. By accessing the respective tabs in the Account settings section, users can edit or delete existing document types and folders or create new ones. Deleting a document type or a folder will not delete the documents associated with them. Users can associate documents with a document type and a folder, or modify existing associations, by editing the document signature requests from the Documents tab.

On-demand bulk backup to cloud
Users can now back up all their completed documents in bulk to one of the integrated cloud storage providers on-demand. Upon initiation, the backup task will immediately start saving a copy of all the completed documents belonging to their organization to the location specified in their cloud storage. Once the backup task is completed, an email notification containing a summary of the activity will be sent to the user from Zoho Sign. However, due to its potential to create a greater load on our servers, this feature will only be activated for organizations at the request of their administrators. Administrators can send a mail to our support team at any time requesting its activation.

Short-hand text tags
Users now have the option to use much shorter text tags in place of the older text tags in Zoho Sign. These tags function like merge tags for signer fields. When these tags are placed alongside the content in a document, they are automatically replaced by the corresponding signer fields upon upload to Zoho Sign for the signing process. An example of the newer short-hand text tag would be using {{FN:R1}} instead of {{First Name:Recipient1}}. For further information, users can send a mail to our support team requesting assistance and documentation.

Merge enhancements in bulk send
Apart from the predefined signer fields, users can now also merge recipient data onto custom text fields in documents when sending them for signatures using the bulk send feature. The data for the custom text field must be included in the bulk recipients CSV file in additional columns with the columns carrying the same headers as the respective fields' data labels. Similarly, a private note can also be added for each recipient by including the data in a column titled 'private_notes' in the CSV file.

Enhancements to limiting responses in SignForms
Users can now disable duplicate responses from the same email address in SignForms. When disabled, anybody trying access a SignForm document by entering an email address already used in a response made in the last 7 days, will, by default, be asked to contact the form owner. However, users also have an option to allow signers to resume signing the SignForm document if their previous response was incomplete.

Enhancements to field properties in Document Viewer
We have introduced new properties that can be set for signer fields in the Document Viewer screen - Resizable, Fixed width, Fixed height, and Character limit. It is now easier for users to duplicate a custom text field to create multiple occurrences of it containing the same data and properties. To do this, users can simply select the text field and then copy-paste it onto the document and reposition it wherever it needs to appear again. Alternatively, users can add more fields and set a common data label to make them share properties. This functions such that once the signer inputs the data in the first occurrence of the field, it is automatically filled into the subsequent occurrences.

Email bounce notifications
Users now get an email bounce notification when an email sent from Zoho Sign is not delivered to its recipient. This notification is received by the user in their mailbox and will carry a reason identifying the cause of failure due to which the email could not be delivered. This can be essential for organizations to identify and fix when a breakage occurs in communication related to paperwork due to email delivery issues.

Support for spreadsheet upload
Zoho Sign now supports the upload of spreadsheet documents for signing and sending for signatures. The supported file formats belonging to this type are XLS, XLSX, and ODS.

What's coming?
  • Qualified Electronic Signatures (QeS)
  • Signing with cloud-based identity providers for different regions
  • Trusted timestamping in documents
  • Offline signing
  • E-sign workflows in Google Docs
  • Software development kit (SDK) for mobile development
We are now in the final stages of introducing options to sign documents with several integrated regional and cloud-based identity providers. For the EU region, we will have Qualified Electronic Signatures (QeS) available via bit4id, a certified provider of digital signature services. For businesses in India, we will have cloud-based eSign or e-KYC (based on the guidelines laid out by the Controller of Certifying Authorities or CCA) available via eMudhra, a leading provider of digital identity services. We are also working with a few more vendors to make these capabilities available across other regions and hope to introduce them in the coming months.

Additionally, we are also working with several regional timestamping authorities (TSA) to introduce trusted digital timestamping in documents for added document security and validity. This also greatly reinforces Zoho Sign's legal applicability for use by governmental bodies and other public administration organizations.

Soon, there will also be an offline signing capability that enables agents to collect signatures in person from signers in remote areas without internet connectivity and also allows signers to download documents on their mobile apps and sign them offline at their convenience. Besides this, we are also nearing the release of a full-fledged software development kit (SDK) for mobile application and integration development using Zoho Sign's services. Users of the Google Workspace ecosystem will also soon have the capability to initiate sign workflows directly from their documents in Google Docs using Zoho Sign.

Do follow this space closely for our announcements (very soon!) introducing these capabilities.

If you need further details on any of these features or enhancements, feel free to comment below. For any other support or assistance needed, please write to support@zohosign.com.

Happy Zoho Signing!

Sai Anand

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