Grant applications, Just-in-Time information, and progress reports all require PDF attachments as part of their submissions.
These attachments are used in different ways. Some are read as stand-alone documents. Most, however, are subject to sophisticated processing upon receipt into eRA systems before the information they contain is used by staff and others. They may be combined with additional forms and data to create consolidated applications or reports in stylized formats. Or, they may undergo text data mining to create grant application fingerprints that enable categorization, searches, reporting and analyses.
Since both people and systems are consumers of the information conveyed through these attachments, we depend on applicants and recipients to follow a set of formatting ground rules that facilitate readability as well as timely and successful system processing.
Keep these rules in mind to create people and system-friendly documents:
- Use a font that is 11 points or larger, has a type density of no more than 15 characters per linear inch, and line spacing of no more than six lines per vertical inch
- Use paper size no larger than 8 ½” by 11”
- Allow for at least one-half inch (½”) text-free margins at top, bottom, left and right of each page
- Use format pages when available (e.g., biosketch, other support, training data tables)
- Adhere to specified page limits (see related article Does every attachment in a grant application have a page limit?)
- Avoid jargon
- Spell out acronyms the first time they are used in each application section/attachment
- Flatten PDFs with electronic signatures, fillable fields, or other interactive elements
- Use descriptive filenames of 50 characters or less
- Limit file size to 100 MB or less
- Use image formats with compression such as JPEG or PNG to reduce file size
See Format Attachments for additional details.