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PDF Documents

Questions frequently asked about filing the PDF and PDF/A filing formats required for e-filing.  For more information about PDF/A, see the PDF/A Help page.

  • How are PDF/A documents created? +

    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.  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.

  • How does the PDF/A requirement affect Mac users? +

    Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac cannot create PDF/A documents, but can create PDF documents which can be converted to PDF/A. Alternately, a Mac user can install and use OpenOffice, which is available for free; see OpenOffice settings for PDF/A.

  • Should I Select RGB or CMYK When Publishing to PDF/A? +

    CMYK, also called process color, is a subtractive color model, which refers to the process of creating colors by adding cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink together.  Adding the colors of ink together reduces light, and, therefore, a combination of all the colors results in black.  It is an ink-on-paper model, i.e., used in print production.

    RGB is an additive color model, which refers to the process of creating colors by adding red, green, and blue light together.  Adding the colors of light together increases light, and, therefore, a combination of all the colors produces white.  It is a light model, i.e., used on monitors, televisions, and projectors.

    The two color profile options, therefore, have very little bearing on the CM/ECF world of black-and-white text documents that are displayed both on screens and in print form.  Choosing a particular profile is only relevant if color charts or graphics are part of the filing, and then only if there is some concern that colors be exactly reproduced.  As a rule, RGB color reproduction (as well as on-screen reproduction of a CMYK profile) can vary widely between monitors, and CMYK color reproduction can similarly vary widely between printers.

    In short, either is fine.

    CMYK Color ModelRGB Color Model
    • Stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow,
      and Key (black).
    • A subtractive color model.
    • Stands for Red, Green, and Blue
    • An additive color model.
    cmykwheel rgbwheel
  • What do I need to create PDF/A documents? +

    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.

  • What is PDF/A? +

    PDF/A is an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard document format. It is a subset of the PDF standard which excludes those PDF features that give rise to concerns about security and the ability to archive documents.

  • What is the maximum file size for any PDF file uploaded to CM/ECF? +

    In the District of Oregon, the maximum file size for any individual PDF file uploaded into CM/ECF is 35 megabytes (MB).  If you need to break up a submission into smaller files, remember that multiple PDF files can be associated with a single event or filing.


  • When will the District of Oregon require that all documents filed in CM/ECF be in PDF/A format? +

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

  • Which PDF/A format should filers use: 1a or 1b? +

    PDF/A 1a is preferred; PDF/A 1b meets the minimum requirement. Users with the option should select PDF/A 1a.

  • Why does the judiciary need to move to PDF/A for its CM/ECF documents? +

    To reduce security risks and to improve the ability to archive those documents. Since its inception in 1995, CM/ECF has required that documents be filed in PDF format. Over the years, PDF has had many features added to it, and some of those features have created security risks. Formal security audits have pointed out the vulnerability. PDF/A eliminates those security risks and also enhances the ability to archive with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

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