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User Information

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Hardware and Software Information

Filing documents into CM/ECF electronic filing systems requires the following hardware and software: 

  • A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows or Mac OS X.
  • A PDF-compatible word processor like Corel WordPerfect or Microsoft Word.
  • Internet service. 
  • For district and bankruptcy CM/ECF, a Web browser. Mozilla Firefox 2 or 1.5, or Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or 6.0 are recommended. Some users have had positive experiences with other Web browsers, but those listed here have been tested and certified for compatibility with CM/ECF. Mozilla Firefox can be downloaded at no cost.  
  • For appellate CM/ECF 2.0, Firefox and Internet Explorer with the Java 1.6 plug-in. Mac users need software that allows Windows to run on a Mac (e.g., Fusion, Parallels, BootCamp). The software does not otherwise run on Mac computers because Apple has not released a port of the current version of Java 1.6.  
  • Software to convert documents from a word processor format to portable document format (PDF). Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional is recommended. Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional, Adobe Acrobat 6 Professional, and Acrobat Writer 5.0 adequately meet the CM/ECF filing requirements.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available for free, is needed for viewing PDF documents. 
  • A scanner may be necessary to create electronic images of documents that are not in your word processing system. 

Document Format

CM/ECF systems are designed to accept only documents in Portable Document Format (PDF). This format was chosen because it allows a document to retain its pagination, formatting and fonts no matter what type of computer is used to view or print the document. It is also an open standard format. Adobe developed the format, and offers software that allows conversion of documents created in most word processing systems into PDF. This software is recommended. Several word processing programs also contain features that convert documents created in those programs into PDF.

Procedural Rules for Lawyers

Rule 5(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 5005(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Rule 25(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Rule 49(d) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure authorize individual courts by local rule to permit or require papers to be filed by electronic means. Most courts that offer electronic filing have issued an authorizing local rule; most have supplemented the local rule with a general order and/or procedures that set forth the relevant procedures governing electronic filing in that court. Individual court rules and procedures are generally available on their Web sites. Rules 5(b) and 77 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 25 and 26 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rules 45 and 49 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rules 7005, 9014 and 9022 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure also authorize service of documents by electronic means if parties consent. The amendments do not apply to service of process. For more information, click here.