Cover Pages and Standard Terms

How we use Standard Terms to help you create and sign contracts faster.

Lauren Hallden avatar
Written by Lauren Hallden
Updated over a week ago

Welcome to Common Paper! If you're just getting started, it's helpful to know a few things about how our agreements are structured.

The structure of an agreement

Every Common Paper agreement has two parts:

A Set of Standard Terms

These are fair and flexible agreement standards, written by the Common Paper committee of experts. Standard Terms are posted at They include special variables, which are terms you choose how you want to define.

A Cover Page

This page contains the definitions for your variables, allowing you to customize the Standard Terms to suit your specific needs. Each time you send an agreement, you and your counterparty negotiate and sign one Cover Page.

An illustration of multiple Cover Pages referencing one set of digital Standard Terms.

How standards save you time

The system of Cover Pages + Standard Terms is designed to increase transparency and trust between parties, and to speed up the contracting process for everyone.

  • Because the Standard Terms never change, both vendors and buyers can review them once and rely on them over and over.

  • Standards are drafted to start each negotiation on fair and reasonable terms for both sides.

  • Agreement negotiations happen in the Cover Page only. This keeps both parties focused on the most important contract terms, and reduces other redlines.

What an agreement looks like

When you send a Common Paper agreement, you’ll send a Cover Page. It includes:

  • The variables: an easy-to-read list of key contract terms and how you define them.

  • A link to the Standard Terms, which are incorporated by reference.

  • A signature block for each party.

Here's what an agreement recipient sees:

A sample Cover Page, as viewed by an agreement recipient.

When an agreement is signed by both parties, a PDF is generated and a final copy is emailed to all signers.

Learn more

Dive into other Getting Started topics:

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