PDF Files and Scanning Tips

All documents submitted for filing in the Electronic Case Filing system must be in PDF format.  PDF files may be created using most word processing applications or with a scanner.  The maximum permitted size is 20 MB per file.  For a pleading containing only black and white text formatted according to Local Civil Rule 5.1, a 20 MB file should contain 700+ pages.

Creating a PDF File with Word Processing Software

Converting a document into PDF format directly from a word processing application generally is preferred to scanning because the application typically will create the PDF in the most efficient manner with a minimal file size.

Most word processing applications provide options for converting the word processing document to PDF format.  Depending on the application, options include publishing to PDF, selecting “Save As” a PDF file, or using the “Print” option with a PDF printer program such as Adobe PDF.  The application documentation and/or “Help” menu should identify available options and how to use each to create a PDF.

Creating a PDF File Through Scanning

Adobe Acrobat (Standard or Professional) is the most widely used software application to create a PDF file through scanning, but many other software packages, including software that is distributed with scanners, will provide for PDF file creation.  Be aware that some applications may embed advertisements or other code into the PDF file, making it unsuitable for submission to the court.  Do not use this type of software.

Tips to keep in mind when scanning your case documents

  • Use 300 dpi or less;
  • Set image type to black and white only bitmap (no grayscale)—only scan in color if it is absolutely needed;
  • Use black ink, if possible. Blue ink and pencil do not scan well. If necessary, make a copy of the document before scanning, and darken it using the copy machine settings;
  • For large documents that require a wet signature, consider converting the document to PDF using a word processor and only scanning the signature page(s).  Use Adobe Acrobat to combine the two PDF files;
  • Use of Adobe Acrobat software on the scanning computer will simplify the scanning process;
  • Check the size of a scanned document before uploading it to CM/ECF.  The individual file size limit is 20 MB per document.  To check the file size, locate the file in Windows Explorer, right click on the file, and choose “Properties”;
  • If a scanned PDF file with less than 700 pages exceeds the 20 MB size limit, review the scanner configuration;
  • If a scanned PDF file is larger than 20 MB, it must be split into two or more files, each being less than 20 MB in size.  Most PDF creation software has this capability; and
  • If CM/ECF delivers an error message that a file contains code or metadata which is unacceptable, remove the code.  In Adobe Acrobat, go to Document > Examine Document and remove all metadata and hidden text, save your changes, and attempt to submit the modified PDF.