Limitations on E-Filing
- Are there any items which should not be filed electronically?
- What format do documents have to be in to efile them?
- Is PDF/a format required?
- What is the maximum PDF size?
- How many pages is 50 MB?
- How many attachments can I efile in one docket entry?
- How do I tell how big my PDF file is?
What are my options if my .pdf file is too big?
- Is there a size limit on an email submitting documents to the court?
At a Glance: Limitations on E-Filing
INITIATING DOCUMENTS IN CRIMINAL OR MISCELLANEOUS CASESEffective February 3, 2014, civil case initiating documents filed by represented parties must be filed electronically. However, initiating documents in criminal cases, miscellaneous cases, and civil cases filed by an unrepresented (pro se) party cannot currently be e-filed. These documents must be filed manually, and the filer is required to follow up by emailing PDF copies of the documents to the Court.
UNDER SEAL DOCUMENTS IN CRIMINAL CASESUnder seal items in criminal cases are currently excluded from the e-filing system. See the page on manual filing for more info and options when e-filing sealed documents in criminal cases. (NOTE: Under seal documents in Civil Cases CAN be E-filed. See E-Filing Under Seal for details.)
EX PARTE FILINGSBecause the ECF system automatically notifies all participants in a case (as well as the public in general), ex parte submissions, including those pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), should never be e-filed.
SENSITIVE PRIVATE INFORMATIONFederal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2 and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 49.1 restrict the inclusion of personal information in e-filed documents. View a summary of Rule 5.2's privacy protections.
DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS & DISCLOSURESDiscovery-related communications between counsel are not typically filed, electronically or otherwise, without an order of the court. Initial disclosures, discovery responses, and expert disclosures are also not filed.
DO NOT file with the court the “initial disclosures” described in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1). Initial disclosures are to be provided directly to the other parties in the case. Please consult Rule 26 for language governing the content and the time for production of initial disclosures.
ITEMS THAT CANNOT BE SCANNEDCivil Local Rule 5.1 provides that if the document(s) do not exist in electronic format and it is not feasible to convert it, you may use the Manual Filing Notification procedure instead.
FILES THAT ARE TOO BIGNo single .pdf document (not combined) may be 50.0MB/50,000KB (megabytes/kilobytes) or larger; otherwise, ECF will not accept the filing. Please see the options below if your file is too big.
NON-DOCUMENTSExhibits which are physical objects or anything other than documents cannot be e-filed. This includes electronic files which can not be converted to .pdf, such as music and video files. Such files must be filed manually in an accessible format.
When in doubt, consult the judge in your case.
All documents must be in PDF format.
No, not at this time. HOWEVER, note that we have seen that PDF/a documents show the least likelihood of being rejected by ECF for errors such as "ERROR: Document is malformed or contains code which may cause an external action (such as launching an application). This PDF document cannot be accepted." If you attempt to upload a PDF document and get this error, try saving the document in PDF/a format, and upload the document again.
Scanned text is a photograph of a printed page produced either by a digital camera or scanner.
General requirements for scanned text include the following:
Agencies must digitize to standards appropriate for the accurate preservation of the information on the printed page. When converting analog or film based material (microfilm, microfiche, slides, etc.), agencies must digitize to standards appropriate for the accurate preservation of the original image. Examples of appropriate methods and formats are available on NARA’s Digitization Services Products and Services page;
Bitonal (1-bit black and white) images must be scanned at 300-600 ppi. Scanning at 600 ppi is recommended. This is appropriate for documents that consist exclusively of clean printed type possessing high inherent contrast (e.g., laser printed or typeset on a white background);
Gray scale (8-bit) must be scanned at 300-400 ppi. Scanning at 400 ppi is recommended.
This is appropriate for textual documents of poor legibility because of low inherent contrast, staining or fading (e.g., carbon copies, thermofax, documents with handwritten annotations or other markings), or that contain halftone illustrations or photographs; and
Color (24-bit RGB [Red, Green, Blue]) must be scanned at 300-400 ppi.Scanning at 400 ppi is recommended. Color mode (if technically available) is appropriate for text containing color information important to interpretation or content.
Our testing shows that a 317 page document scanned:
-- bitonal, at 300 ppi, was 23.86 MB and sufficiently legible, whereas
-- gray scale, at 400 ppi, was 374.47 MB.Please consult your scanner's documentation or the manufacturer's website/helpdesk for assistance in using your scanner. The ECF HelpDesk cannot provide technical assistance with scanning.
NOTE: On rare occasions when large or multiple PDF files are submitted, the e-filing confirmation page does not appear, but the Notices of Electronic Filing are sent and the filing appears on the electronic docket. In this event, there is no need for concern about your e-filing.
TIP: ECF is less likely to freeze if you submit no more than 8-10 files at a time, no matter what their size. If you have more than 8 documents to submit and ECF stalls, consider filing in smaller batches.
Example: If you have a Declaration and 23 Exhibits, e-file the Declaration as your main document and Exhibits 1 to 7 as attachments; when you finish e-filing these, select Civil or Criminal (as applicable), then "Other Supporting Documents" — Exhibits, file your cover sheet (see Civil Local Rule 3-4 for details) as your main document and Exhibits 8 to 15 as attachments, check the box for "Refer to Existing Events" on the following screen, and make a reference to the Declaration these Exhibits support; when you finish filing these, repeat for Exhibits 16 to 20.
|08/05/2005||3||Declaration of Roger Moore filed byBob Smith. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7) (Entered: 08/05/2005)|
|08/05/2005||4||EXHIBITS re 3 Declaration in Support filed byBob Smith. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 8, # 2 Exhibit 9, # 3 Exhibit 10, # 4 Exhibit 11)(Related document(s) 4) (Entered: 08/05/2005)|
In theory, as many as you like. In practice, this depends on the file
size of each of your attachments. In testing, we found that we
could reliably e-file seven (7) nearly 50 MB attachments. We recommend that you keep the number of files to a minimum to avoid timing out.
When you have the file open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can get a document summary that will tell you a number of things about the file, including its size. Simply type Ctrl-d or click:
to open the Document Summary dialog box. File sizes may be listed in KB (kilobytes) or megabyte (MB). 1000KB = 1MB. ECF will reject anything 50.0MB (50,000KB), or over.
You can also look at the file size from within Windows Explorer.
You have a number of simple options:
- If your .pdf file was scanned, did it really have to be scanned? Only documents which exist in paper-only must be scanned, all others can (and should) be electronically converted from the original computer file. If your document exists anywhere electronically (Word, WordPerfect, Excel, website, digital photo, etc.) it is MUCH better to convert your document to .pdf rather than printing it out and scanning it. Remember, you almost never need to scan to prove the existence of signatures.
- If your scanned document is under 50-70 pages but over 50.0MB in file size, you almost certainly scanned it at "high resolution" or "photo quality". Many scanners come from the factory set for the highest quality mode (no doubt to impress you with their detail and clarity), but this creates an enormous file size in relation to the numbers of pages. Rescan your document at LOW resolution or "draft" quality and you'll create a much smaller file size. As long as the document is legible and under 50.0MB, we are happy to accept it.
- Separate files will keep you file size down so you may scan or convert your exhibits as individual files. Instead of combining exhibits A-D, make four PDF files (one for each), such as: A.pdf, B.pdf, C.pdf and D.pdf (etc)..
You may still combine small exhibits into one file, as long as that file is under 50.0MB (such as ABCD.pdf). Use your best judgment - if you have five, 1-page documents, and one 50-page document, combine the five, 1-page documents into one PDF file, and keep the 50-page document as a separate PDF.
- The court allows you to e-file your documents in sections, as long as they are identified in the ECF system when you efile them. We suggest you try to divide up the document in logical places (such as between chapters or sections of the document) if possible. You may label them something like,
Exhibit A, Part 1 of 3
Exhibit A, Part 2 of 3
Exhibit A, Part 3 of 3
- You may efile your exhibits as separate filings, as long as you relate the filings to the document they are attached to:
Example (Declaration with many exhibits):
- E-file your Declaration all by itself, and relate it to the Motion it supports.
- When complete, click on Civil→Other Supporting Documents→Exhibits (or Civil→Other Supporting Documents→Attachments to Administrative Motion to File Under Seal if filing documents under seal)
- E-file the exhibits (in groups of 5-10) and relate them to the declaration (not to the Motion the Declaration supports).
- Repeat this until all your exhibits are efiled.
- Please use one of the methods described above to e-file voluminous documents. The Manual Filing Notification ("MFN") process may be used only if it is impossible to e-file an item due to other restrictions. For voluminous documents, the MFN should not be used in lieu of one of the methods described above.
All emails must be below 30.0MB (megabytes) in size to pass our gateway. If you email .pdf documents to the court (as with initiating documents such as complaints and their attendant documents) you may find that you are unable to attach all the exhibits to a single mail message. After ensuring that each individual .pdf file is under 5.0MB (5,000KB), you can resend as multiple emails with just a few .pdfs in each.