Collecting, organizing, and sharing data amongst your team can be a difficult task, but when you have a tool like Smartsheet, the process is drastically improved. Much like a spreadsheet, you can easily save information and share it with your team members, but you can also reference other sheets and more advanced features.

In this example, we’re going to show you how you can automatically generate a non-disclosure contract for customers that we add to one of our Smartsheet sheets. This contract will also be automatically sent over to SignNow, so that the customer can sign it.

To get started, we’re going to setup the template for our NDA using a Microsoft Word document. This contract looks like any other NDA, except we’re going to add merge fields where we want our customer’s information to go. These merge fields are just text that you type in the document and look like {$FirstName}, {$Address}, etc.

Here’s what our NDA template looks like:

Since we’ll be collecting a signature via SignNow, we need to add a signature tag to the document so that the signature is placed in the correct spot on the document. You can do that with a tag like this (more info): {literal} {{t:s;r:y;o:"Signer";}} {/literal}

Once we have our template ready to go, we need to upload it to Formstack Documents. From the Documents page in Formstack Documents, click the New Document button then type in a name for the document. On the next step, you’re going to pick Office Document, then choose the file from your computer.


After you upload the document, you’re going to be taken to the Settings tab where you can modify options like the type of file that is produced and the name of the file. For this example, we’re going to generate a PDF and then include the name of our customer in the name of the file.


Next, we’re going to setup the delivery of our document to SignNow so that it will automatically be sent out for signature. From the Deliver tab, click the New Delivery button then pick SignNow from the list. You’ll have to login to your SignNow account to authenticate Formstack Documents to send documents to your account.

After you’ve logged into SignNow you’ll be taken back to Formstack Documents where you’ll see the delivery settings. You’ll need to define the subject of the email that the signer receives and then who the signer is.

Once you save the SignNow delivery, we’re all done with the setup in Formstack Documents! To help with the integration to Smartsheet, we’re going to use our friends over at Zapier.

Inside Zapier, go ahead and create a New Zap and for the Trigger service you’re going to pick Smartsheet. For the trigger, you’re going to choose New Row.


Next, Zapier will have you authenticate your Smartsheet account and then they’ll have you pick the sheet that you want to monitor. In our case, we’re going to monitor the New Customers sheet.

After you’ve finished the trigger setup, we’re going to pick Formstack Documents as the action service and then Create Document Merge as the action.

After you’ve authenticated your Formstack Documents account, Zapier will load a list of the documents that are in your Formstack Documents account. Go ahead and pick the contract that you just setup and then Zapier will load a list of the merge fields in that document.

For each of the merge fields, you’ll need to pick the corresponding Smartsheet field. This tells Zapier how to send the Smartsheet data over to Formstack Documents so that it goes to the right spot in your template.

Once you’ve mapped all of the fields, go ahead and finish the zap and turn it on. Now we’re ready for a test! Log into Smartsheet and enter a new customer into your sheet. Zapier will then detect that you’ve added a new row and it will send that data over to Formstack Documents, the contract will be generated, then sent out for signature.

Here’s what our contract looked like waiting for signature:

Congrats, you’re all done! You can now automatically populate all kinds of documents from your Smartsheet account. Can you think of any other ways that you could use Formstack Documents to streamline your paperwork process?


Signature and Field Tags

SignNow also has the ability to embed fields and place signature box in specific locations using Field Tags. This is simply text that is in your documents that is detected by SignNow and turned into a field.

For example: {{t:s;r:y;o:"Signer";}} (documentation below)

If you are using the online document builder or any of the office documents, you will need to wrap the field tags in {literal}{/literal} tags so that the brackets do not interfere with Formstack Documents merge field tags. Any code inside the literal tags is ignored by Formstack Documents.

For example: {literal} {{t:s;r:y;o:"Signer";}} {/literal}


Here is the full documentation from SignNow, which can also be found at

The order in adding the test tags is:

KEY What does it mean? Accepted format & values When fields need this KEY?
t TYPE of the field

s (for signature)

i (for initials)

t (for text)

d (for dropdown)

For every field

y (for required)

n (for optional)

For every field
o ROLE "<role name>" For every field
l LABEL "<label of this field>" Only for Text and Drop down fields
dd DROPDOWN "option1, option2, option2, ...." Only for Drop down fields
f FILE "<filename>.pdf" File attachment

The full set looks like the following:


  1. To create a field of TYPE signature, with required REQUIREMENT, and ROLE 'Signer'
  2. To create a Field of TYPE Text, with optional REQUIREMENT, with ROLE 'Signer', and with LABEL "notes":
  3. To create a Field of TYPE Initial, with optional REQUIREMENT, and ROLE 'Signer':
  4. To create a Field of Type Drop down, with required REQUIREMENT, with ROLE 'Employee', with LABEL 'Date', and with DROPDOWNS '2012,2013,2014':


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  • How does one create a radio button and check box? Is that possible as well? I know you can do it in SignNow, but can it be done in these tags? I see that you have documentation for these items in DocuSign

  • Hi Brenton,

    Unfortunately, it does not look like they support radio/checkbox fields via the API. Please reach out to their team for more information.


  • I'm sure I'm missing something. How do I mark a field to accommodate the sign date? Thanks!

  • Hi Brian,

    Unfortunately, SignNow doesn't have a text tag for the sign date :(

  • Thanks Jeremy, according to the rep that I just spoke with, Signnow includes a date and time stamp in the signature. If that is correct, sounds good to me :)

  • Hi Brian,

    Did they provide you with a few examples that you could post here?

  • Hey Jeremy, I have conflicting information now from SignNow. Support showed me here:, that I should use a text tag with a validator ID to create a "Date Signed" text field that is limited to reflecting a date. I think it ends up looking like this: {{t:t;r:n;o:"Signer";l:"Date Signed";w:100;v:"13435fa6c2a17f83177fcbb5c4a9376ce85befeb";}}

  • Is there a way to assign an order using SignNow like they have in their app? Basically make three groups of signers or something like that?

  • Hi Carson,

    Yes, under More Options in your SignNow delivery, you can check the box for "Use sequenced signing" and this will have each person sign in order they are listed in the delivery. Unfortunately, this will be 1 at a time, not in groups.


  • Thanks Jeremy, I can make that work. It would be really great if there was a way to make groups. I hope that feature will come in the near future! Thanks again!


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