How to ask someone to sign a document

Whether it’s a contract, a quote, or a business proposal, you’ll need to ask the other party to sign the document and return it to you as quickly as possible.

But how do you ask someone to sign a document without coming off as rude or pushy?

We’re going to show you how to ask someone to sign a document and explore the different methods that you can use to do so.

How do I ask politely for a signed agreement to be sent back?

However you send important documents, it’s important to provide clear instructions for signing and returning them.

The request should be polite and formal, explaining why you’re asking for a signature and the commitment represented by it.

Let’s explore how to politely ask someone to sign a document using various methods:

Requesting an eSignature

Electronic signatures are fast, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

They’re also legally binding and provide a secure digital record. Let’s find out how to send a document for electronic signature.

1. Request via electronic signature software

This is the simplest and most convenient way to request signatures.

With eSignature software, you create a document from a template or upload a file and then customize the signature fields (checkboxes and space for initials). 

Then, the software sends it to the recipient’s email with your personalized message.

The signee is guided to open, eSign, and return the document — and you’ll be notified when they do so.

PandaDoc’s document workflow software makes things even easier.

You can create perfect proposals, contracts, and more using the library of hundreds of pre-made templates.

Then, you get updates whenever someone opens, views, comments on, or signs the document. It couldn’t be simpler to request and track all your business eSignatures.  

2. Request via a file-sharing service

Another option is to use a file-sharing service.

You can set up an integration with your electronic signature tool or send docs via the file-sharing service itself. In both cases, the recipient will receive a message via email with a link to the document.

They should be able to view and download it without a file-sharing tool, but it’s best to double-check with the signer.

3. Request via email

You could also send the document in an email with wording like “Please find the attached document for your signature.”

Keep the message short, make it clear who the email’s from, and state what action is required.

Just make sure you remember to attach the document! Again, it’s worth checking that it’s been received.

Requesting a non-digital signature

You may need to obtain a handwritten signature for certain legal documents if a notary public needs to witness them being signed or if the recipient doesn’t have access to electronic tools.

1. Request in person

This is less convenient than using an eSignature, as both parties need to be in the same room.

But a face-to-face request is more personal, giving you the opportunity to explain why the signature is needed and answer any questions the signer may have.

You could collect the signature that day or send the necessary documents after the meeting.

2. Request via mail

If you need to request a signature via traditional mail, include a cover letter along with the document.

Explain how and where to sign, and include return instructions, plus your contact details in case the person you’re sending the document to has questions.

Obviously, the signing process takes longer, and the document would have to be sent again if there’s an error.

How should I ask someone to sign a document in an email?

Be concise

Keep to the pointwithout being rude — you’ll need a little more than just “Please sign the attached document and return it.”

Outline who you are, why you’re sending the document, and what you need from the other person.

Avoid assumptions

When requesting a signature, don’t assume that the recipient remembers who you are, understands why you need a signature, or knows how to use the relevant technology.

Include your contact details in case the signer has any questions.

Provide clear instructions

State clearly that you need the signer to read the document, sign it, and return it. Include additional instructions, such as how to use the eSignature or file-sharing software.

Use single sentences or bullet points to provide a clear and easy-to-read layout.

Set a deadline

It’s important to include the date by which you need the document to be signed and returned.

This creates a sense of urgency and makes it less likely that the signee will put it off.

Leave no room for misunderstanding — instead of “by December 6”, write “before midday on Tuesday, December 6, 2022”.

Sample email requesting a signature on documents

Dear Ms. Bhandal,

This is Lisa from ABC Legal Services. As discussed yesterday, thelease documents are now ready for you to sign.

Please find the PDF documents attached. Instructions for signing electronically are also included.

Please return the signed documents to this email address by midday on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email me.

Kind regards,


Sample letter requesting a signature on documents

November 28, 2022

Dear Mr. Steiner,

Please find enclosed two copies of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for the proposed partnership between Steiner Inc. and XYZ Holdings.

Please sign and date both copies of the agreement and mail one signed copy back to the Houston office before 5 pm on Friday, December 16, 2022. A pre-addressed envelope is enclosed for your convenience.

If you have any questions, please call me on the number below.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Vellini

XYZ Holdings

Document signing is made simpler with PandaDoc

We’ve explored how to ask someone to sign a document, but if you’re focusing on how to get your proposal signed quickly, eSignatures are the method to choose.

With PandaDoc, the sign-and-return process is fast and easy — and so is document creation, thanks to templates and drag-and-drop functionality.

Once you’ve crafted a short and polite message and sent the document, you’ll receive notifications whenever it’s opened, viewed, commented on, or eSigned.

All documents are retained in secure cloud storage for reference and compliance.