Skip to content
Autenti / Blog / What is an initial? The difference between a signature

What is an initial? The difference between a signature

We’re expanding the Autenti platform’s capabilities with a new feature - document initialling. We welcome you to get to know this feature and encourage you to use the initialling tool during the signing process.

What is an initial?

This is a method used for accepting a document before authorized persons submit a binding signature. An initial is most often used for the company’s internal circulation of documents and is ranked lower than the electronic signature. Only recipients that the sender indicates can initial documents.

The process of initialling on the Autenti platform

Every sender that has a PRO account may indicate the recipient who will initial the document. The person initialling will receive a message with a link to the document via the indicated e-mail address. After reading through its contents, they can decide whether they want to accept the document (i.e. initial it) or reject it. The document is confirmed by a comment in the case it is rejected. A document without the required initial cannot be signed by another recipient during the same process.

  • To use the initialling feature, you must send the document and in the order in which signers will sign.
  • The person initialling cannot be assigned as the last recipient.
  • You can add as many people to initial the document as you want.
  • The person initialling does not need to have an account on the Autenti platform.
  • The person accepting the document may initial or reject it. When the document is rejected, the signing process is completed.
  • The person who should initial the document can no longer be assigned a different role (signing or holding the document for inspection) during the same process.
  • As a result, the initialled document is sent to the following person specified in the signing order. In the event that approval is delayed, the document’s sender has the option to send a reminder about the pending document.
  • After receiving all required initials and signatures, the signing process is completed and all participants are notified through e-mail.

Initialling vs signing on the Autenti platform - key differences

  Signing Initialling
Access to the recipient list for the document yes yes
Viewing the selected role during the signing process of the document yes yes
Content button on the signing panel



Information in the signing process logs yes yes
Confirmed with a seal yes no
Visible on the Signature Card yes no
Visible in the document history on the document list yes yes

Required to complete the process

yes yes
Can I send my decision to another Autenti Business account user? yes no

An example of using an initial

In the company ABCD S.A. each document that requires the president's signature is first accepted by a lawyer and the director of the IT department. An administrative employee of the company is responsible for sending documents for signature via the Autenti platform. Company ABCD wants to work with XYZ, where the CEO is the signatory.

Person Firma Rola w procesie
Administrative employee ABCD

Document sender (S)

Lawyer ABCD

1st person to initial (IA1)

IT Director

ABCD 2nd person to initial  (IA2)

Chairman of the Board


Signer (SO1)


Signer (SO2)

  • The sender (S) sends the document to the recipients pertaining to their role in the process.
  • The first people designated in the signing order are initialling the document and the last people are the ones who sign it. The document is sent like this

Sender → Initialling person 1 →  Initialling person 2 → Signer 1 (everyone within company ABCD) → Signer 2 (from company XYZ).

  • The first person to receive the document is the Initialling person 1 (IA1). Once the initial is submitted, the document will be sent for the next person to approve (IA2).
  • Next, the document is sent to the signatories SO1 and SO2. The process continues until the last person assigned signs it.
  • Document recipients will be able to see the actions taken by previous recipients - including the people who initialled.
  • Each person accepting the document can also choose not to initial the document (i.e., reject it). This means the next person will no longer receive the document. In this case, the person who does not want to initial the document has to leave a comment explaining their decision.
  • The approval and signing process is now complete. Both the signatories and the persons initialling are notified by e-mail and receive the signed document.