Read and Sign documents in SharePoint made easy

By: Vladi Gubler | Comments [11] | Category: Sample Applications | 11/29/2010


Today I'm going to show you how to create a fully functioning regulatory Read & Sign system in just a few minutes.
Just a few word as a background: various regulatory agencies, such as FDA, require certain documents, say SOP's to be regularly read by employees. The fact that the document has been declared as read by a certain employee needs to be recorded in the system so it can not be refuted.

Many of us have chosen SharePoint as the platform for managing the complete lifecycle of all our document, so it makes sense to have the Read & Sign functionality there as well. Basically, we need to assign a task to each of our employees in the target audience to read and sign the document and we need to be able to track the status of these tasks. And obviously we need to be able to do all that as painlessly as possible. The vanilla SharePoint installation does have a few shortcomings when it comes to these requirements, it is not as easy as it should be to create tasks for multiple users, based on domain groups, or even nested domain groups, and task tracking is also not very intuitive.

This is where we, here at Infowise, can help. Our products work together to create such a system in just a few minutes to give you all the functionality and ease of use you need. So let me show how. (The following is based on SharePoint 2010 UI, but the same exact functionality is there for SharePoint 2007, as with all of our products.)

Take a look at how your system will look like in just 10-15 minutes:

We need the following products - you can download and install them free of charge for a 30-day trial:

First we need a document library for the SOP's. Just go ahead and create a simple document library, as you usually would. Now we need two new columns in the library (of course, you can also add additional columns for your needs as well). The first column will be of type Person or Group. We will call it Signers, it will accept multiple values and require data entry.

Signer column added
For the second column, which will use the Associated Tasks Field, we will need a target list for the tasks. You can either use the provided Associated Tasks list type or create a regular Tasks lists. In the latter case you need to work just a bit harder but you get the added bonus of email notifications when tasks are assigned. So we will go for the second options.

  • Create a Tasks list and name it Signing Tasks
  • In the list settings go to Advanced settings
  • Allow management of content types

Content type management allowed

  • Add Associated Task content type located under Infowise

Add content type

  • Remove Task and Summary Task content types
  • Click on the Associated Task content type to edit
  • Hide the columns we will not need, such as priority, status, % complete and start date. To hide, click on the column name and choose Hide.
  • Add yes/no column named I confirm reading
  • Add Signature field to the list (also name it Signature), select the I confirm reading column to sign.
  • Modify the default view to contain Title, Assigned To, Due Date, I confirm reading and Signature columns

Now we can add the Associated Tasks column to our SOP document library.

  • On the ribbon click on Create Column
  • Enter Read & Sign as the new column's title
  • Choose Associated tasks column type
  • Uncheck the Add to default view checkbox
  • Specifiy the number of items per page (e.g. 10)
  • Check Generate tasks automatically checkbox
  • Enter task title - Please read and sign

Configure Associated Tasks Field

  • Save the column.


You are now ready to test your SOP system. Upload a document and enter users and/or groups into the Signers column. These are the people who are to sign the document in the future. Save the document properties. You can now edit/review/approve the document in the usual fashion. When it is time for the read & sign procedure, just edit the document properties and click on Generate tasks.

Edit document properties

A task named Please read and sign will be created for each of the users in the Signers column, domain groups, if present, will be expanded as well.

Tasks created

Each user will receive an email informing him of the task. The user can open the context menu of the task directly from the display/edit form of the document or from the Signing Tasks list. The user edits the task by checking the I confirm reading checkbox and signing with username and password.

Task signing

The manager can view the signing progress by viewing the document's properties at any time.

Task status

As you can see, this is really easy and straightforward. You can use any combination of our products to create sophisticated business processes in SharePoint in minutes.


1  alex at 1/11/2012 7:37:25 AM
Would this solution work in WSS/Foundation?
2  Vladi Gubler at 1/11/2012 7:55:44 AM
Yes, of course, all our solutions work on WSS/Foundation. You can download the site template for the application from under Site Templates.
3  Bernadette at 2/28/2012 10:36:53 AM
Can you let me the cost involved in this solution
4  Vladi Gubler at 2/28/2012 10:38:45 AM
You can download the site template and see the pricing here:
5  Campbell at 9/22/2014 4:28:01 PM
The company I work for have a lot of floor staff. Is there a way a manager can manually sign off a document for a group of people to show compliance?
6  James at 7/2/2015 12:12:44 PM
Will this solution work with your Office 365 SharePoint apps?
7  Vladi Gubler at 7/2/2015 1:15:30 PM
No, the app version does not currently have the ability to generate tasks
8  Alan at 1/4/2016 10:23:07 PM
How would you notifiy someone after all read and sign tasks are complete for a document?
9  Vladi Gubler at 1/5/2016 2:44:18 PM
Alan. You would need to add an Associated Items Summary column with a conditional count of pending tasks only, make sure to set it to raise events. Then add an alert with a condition: # of Pending Tasks After Change Equals 0. This alert will only be triggered when all tasks are completed.

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