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Announcement Regarding Electronically Filed Document Format Change


In the future, the Judiciary will require that all electronically filed documents uploaded in CM/ECF be in the PDF/A format. Currently, CM/ECF accepts both PDF and PDF/A documents. This move to a PDF/A standard is viewed as a necessary step to enhance CM/ECF security and to improve the archiving and preservation of case-related documents.

Click here to download this announcement in PDF format.

What is PDF/A?

PDF/A is an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard document format.

PDF/A documents are self-contained and do not rely on or access information outside of the document itself to display the information contained within the document. Accordingly, the PDF document appears, and will continue to appear, identical to the document from which it was created, no matter where or when it is accessed. As a result, most PDF/A documents will have a slightly larger file size.

How are PDF/A documents created?

More than ninety commercial products can create PDF/A documents (many are listed at Create PDF/A and Convert PDF to PDF/A). The District Court does not recommend any particular products.

  1. Creation from electronic documents
    PDF/A documents can be created by most word processor programs. The necessary settings for some popular products are given at OpenOffice settings for PDF/A, Microsoft Word settings for PDF/A, and Corel WordPerfect X4 settings for PDF/A. For information about creating PDF/A documents with Adobe Acrobat 9 Professional or Standard, see Creating PDF/A documents with Acrobat.
  2. Creation from scanned documents
    Some scanning software is capable of directly creating PDF/A format documents. If your software does not have the capability, the document may need scanned as a regular PDF and then converted. One method of converting the document is to open the scanned document using Acrobat Standard or Professional and use the "print" method described here to convert to PDF/A format. Note: To keep file sizes down and to ensure that files are text-searchable, PDF/A documents should be created using a word processing program (like WordPerfect or Microsoft Word), rather than being printed out in hard copy and scanned.

What is the effective date of this change?

The Judiciary has not yet set a deadline for requiring all electronic files to be uploaded in PDF/A format. However, all users are encouraged to begin to transition their filings to this new standard as soon as possible.

Where can I learn more about PDF/A?

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page.