Text Size

General Protocols


Signature Line Format (See LR 11-1)

Each electronically filed document must include the Registered User's name preceded by an "s/" and typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear, as well as the other information required by LR 11-1.  For example:

s/ John Q. Attorney
Attorney for Plaintiff ABC Corporation, Inc.

A self-represented litigant who has been authorized to file documents electronically must also follow the requirements of this rule.  Your signature should be reflected as follows:

s/ John R. Individual
John R. Individual
Plaintiff, pro se

Non-Registered User Signatures

If a document contains the signature of a person who is not a Registered User, the filing party may scan the entire document, including the original signature page, or represent the signature by an “s/” and the names typed in the space where a signature would otherwise appear.

Documents Requiring Multiple Signatures (See LR 11-1(d))

Documents requiring signatures of more than one party must be electronically filed either by:

  • Submitting a scanned document containing all necessary wet signatures;
  • Representing on the document the consent or stipulation of the other parties;
  • Identifying on the document the signatures which are required and submitting written confirmation no later than seven days after filing; or,
  • In any other manner approved by the court.

NOTE:  LR 5-14 requires the filing party to retain, for a specified time, the original document with the signatures of non-registered users of any document which is electronically filed.

Creating and Using PDF Documents

The standard format for electronically filed documents is Portable Document Format or PDF.  Adobe Acrobat is the application which generates PDF files from documents created in a word processing application such as WordPerfect or Microsoft Word.  There are two primary methods for creating PDF documents:  (1) formatting text documents into PDF at the time of creation, or (2) scanning documents from paper into PDF. 

Converting a Text File to a PDF File

Saving a document to PDF directly from your word-processing program is a preferable method of creating or converting a document to PDF.  Scanning a document creates an image, and, therefore, scanned documents are much larger than documents saved directly to PDF.  The size of a PDF file created from a word-processing document is normally only 20% of the size of a PDF file created from a scanned document.  

To create a PDF file from a text document:

  1. Open the word processing application.  To ensure that the formatting and appearance of the document remain the same when viewed either through the word processor or when viewed or printed through Adobe Acrobat Reader (the PDF reader application), the printer (File/Print menu) must be set to Adobe PDF before beginning to compose or edit the text document.  If a document is initially prepared with some other printer specified, the ultimate conversion to PDF may introduce changes in pagination, fonts, spacing, or other formatting elements, requiring further proofreading and editing.  After the document is saved as a PDF file, you should print from the PDF reader application (rather than from the word processor application) to be sure that the printed copy matches the Court's official version.
  2. To edit text from an older document, you should first select Print, choose PDFWriter, and click Close before working within the text document.  You should select Web-safe, basic fonts which are small in size.  For example, Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier New are acceptable fonts.  Avoid using special characters such as check boxes, section symbols, or bullets.
  3. You should save the text document into your file directories using an appropriate file naming convention.
  4. After naming the text file, you should select Print from the File menu.  If the current printer is not Acrobat PDF Writer, you may click the tab labeled Printer, and next to the Name option, click the drop-down arrow and select Acrobat PDF Writer.
  5. In the Save PDF File As dialog box, you must name or rename the document as necessary, being sure not to change or alter the .pdf  file extension.  Files electronically uploaded must have the .pdf  file extension.  If the dialog box does not appear, check the task bar at the bottom of the screen to locate the Save PDF File As button.
  6. After saving the PDF file, an Acrobat PDF Writer Document Information dialog box will appear.  You may insert more specific information about the document in this area and complete the process by clicking on OK.
  7. Check the file directory to ensure both the text version and the PDF version are there.

Creating a PDF File from a Scanned Document

For those documents that must be scanned because a word processor version does not exist, the preferred method is to scan the document directly into PDF format using Adobe Acrobat without running an Optical Character Recognition option.  You should consult the manufacturer's user manual for your particular scanner for additional scanning procedures.

The quality of the document when scanned is determined by the level of detail recorded by the scanner.  This detail is referred to as the resolution, which is measured by the dots per inch (dpi). A higher resolution is slower to scan (this is also dependent on the scanner and the number of pages that are scanned).  The recommended resolution is 200 dpi.

Scanning creates a document with a larger file size. This, in turn, causes loading and retrieval of the document from the application to be slower.  The file size limit for any single file uploaded is 35 MB.  If a file exceeds this limit, the user must break it down into smaller, separate files before completing the transaction.

NOTE: Pursuant to LR 5-2(b) all pleadings and documents filed through the CM/ECF system must be text searchable.

PDF Writer vs. Distiller

The Distiller is a tool which, in most cases, produces a higher quality document than the PDFWriter.  It is helpful to use when converting documents that are intended to be interactive or that contain graphics.  However, unless there are graphics in the document, you should avoid using the Distiller. When a word processing document is converted using Distiller, the file size may be much larger than allowed.

File Size Limits

PDF files should be limited to 35 MB.  Files which exceed this limit should be broken down into smaller, separate files.  Several files may be uploaded as attachments to any single event. Whenever possible, documents should be converted directly from text files to PDF files.

PDF Editing Features

Once a document is filed electronically, you cannot modify the court record PDF version of the document.  PDF editing features can be used, however, for copies of the filed document.

Common Adobe Error Messages and Corrections

See also PACER Frequently Asked Questions

Version Compatibility Error Problem:  An earlier version of the Acrobat Reader is possibly being used to read a PDF file created with the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Writer. Solution:  You should download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Uploading the Wrong Document Problem:   You have uploaded the wrong document with your entry.  Solution: View the PDF file before uploading by right clicking on the document and clicking Open.  Adobe Acrobat will launch and allow the document to be viewed.  Double clicking or selecting Open from the Browse window will paste the file path name into the file upload prompt box in ECF.

PDF Fillable Forms

It is strongly recommended that "Fillable Form" PDF files not be uploaded to the system.  If you use a fillable form, you should "flatten" the document before e-filing it by printing the document to Adobe PDFWriter and saving it as a .pdf file.

Submission of Documents

With limited exceptions, all documents should be submitted electronically through the CM/ECF system.  Below is further information to assist in submitting documents.

Affidavits and Declarations:

Affidavits and Declarations should be submitted in accordance with LR 10-3 as separately filed documents.

Documents That Must be Filed in Hard Copy (See LR 5-5)

The following documents must be filed and served in paper form:

  • Sealed and in camera documents (See LR 3-7 and LR 3-8);
  • Individual Consent to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge; and
  • Demonstrative or oversized exhibits (See LR 5-7).

Proposed forms of orders or judgments (See LR 5-11(c))

Proposed forms of orders or judgments should not be submitted unless requested by the court.  

Judge's Working Copy (See LR 5-10)

A paper copy of the following electronically filed documents and the Notice of Electronic Filing shall be marked as a "JUDGE'S COPY" and delivered to the Clerk's Office within three business days after the electronic filing:

  • Civil Cases: Dispositive motions, motions for injunctive relief, and any documents in excess of ten pages;
  • Criminal Cases: Motions in limine, motions to dismiss, suppression motions, and any documents in excess of ten pages.


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