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Home | Case-Filing | Electronic Filing Information | Electronic Filing Reference

Working With PDFs

The court requires a document filed in CM/ECF or submitted to the appropriate e-mail box upon the filing of a paper copy in pre-2010 cases to be in Portable Document Format (PDF). Local Rule 25.1(c)(1); Local Rule 25.2(b)(2). To upload a document to the CM/ECF system or submit the document to the appropriate e-mail box in PDF, a filer must have computer software that (1) enables a document's conversion to PDF from a word processor format or (2) reads a scanned copy of a document and converts the image to PDF. Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional is software that will enable either conversion. While Adobe Acrobat Reader works with the CM/ECF system, it offers read-only capabilities. The Court recommends Adobe Acrobat Standard or Adobe Acrobat Professional as either has writing capabilities that permit a filer to manipulate a PDF document and even perform some basic editing.


A PDF document filed in CM/ECF or submitted to the Court in addition to any required paper copy of a document must be text-searchable. Local Rule 25.1(e); Local Rule 25.2(b)(3). Adobe Acrobat Standard or Adobe Acrobat Professional permits a filer to perform an Optimal Character Recognition ("OCR") scan that will convert the document to a text-searchable format. The Court deems any PDF that is not text-searchable to be non-conforming, and the Court will return a PDF that is not text-searchable to a filer for resubmission.


A filer uploading a fillable PDF to NextGen CM/ECF must "flatten" the PDF before uploading. Flattening ensures that the document can be viewed on all devices, and prevents others from manipulating or editing the information.


A filer must also combine multiple PDFs into one PDF in certain instances, see, e.g., Local Rule 27.1(a)(2), alter a PDF's pagination so that it matches the way the filer initially paginated the submitted document (i.e., make the page numbers properly text-searchable), and divide an oversized PDF for appropriate submission in CM/ECF, see Local Rule 25.1(j)(3). Adobe Acrobat Standard or Adobe Acrobat Professional enables a user, among other things, to combine multiple separate PDFs into one PDF as required. Either program also permits necessary adjustment of a PDF's default pagination which designates the first page of a document as Arabic number 1 and continues with sequential Arabic numbering even when the filer has paginated the document differently (e.g., when a filer paginates a brief's table of contents and table of authorities with Roman numerals and argument sections in Arabic numerals). Either program also provides easy manipulation of a PDF so that it can be broken down when its file size is too large.


The CM/ECF system accommodates Adobe Acrobat Version 5 and higher. If a user's computer does not meet this software requirement, a filer can obtain Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Acrobat Standard, or Adobe Acrobat Professional software from Adobe's website.


The following instructions apply only to Adobe Acrobat Professional and Adobe Acrobat Standard.


A filer who uses software other than Adobe Acrobat Professional or Standard to create a PDF must consult the software vendor for information on making the PDF text-searchable, combining the PDF with at least one other PDF, and appropriately paginating the PDF.


More information about PDFs:


Creating a PDF from Word or WordPerfect

Making a PDF text-searchable

Flattening a fillable PDF

Combining multiple PDFs into a single PDF

Paginating a PDF

Dividing an oversized PDF



Last modified at 8/27/2010