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Correcting Malformed PDF Files for Upload to CM/ECF

Sometimes the way a PDF file is created or formatted makes it incompatible with the CM/ECF system. When this occurs CM/ECF rejects the malformed PDF and it cannot be docketed.

Malformed PDFs include those that are unflattened, have insufficient margins that interfere with the CM/ECF case header stamp at the top of each page, or are unflattened DocuSigned (and other electronically signed) PDFs.

1) PDFs with the following content will be rejected:
• Does not comply with PDF format standards
• Contains JavaScript
• Encrypted or password-protected
• Contains scripts which can launch an external application
• Contains internal attachments
• Contains audio and video content
• Created with Mac OS X using a fillable form in the Safari browser
• Created with Mac OS X using MS Word and selecting the option, “Best for printing”

2) PDFs with the following content will be accepted:
• Contains hyperlinks to external web sites
• Meets the PDF-A standard
• Contains optical character recognition (OCR) meta-data
• Comprised of scanned documents



The simplest way to address most PDF upload rejections is to flatten the PDF and then upload it into CM/ECF. Those steps are as follows:

1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat or another tool.

2. Print the PDF file to your PDF printer (File>Print>select Adobe PDF or another PDF printer listed in the drop-down list).

3. Save the printed PDF and upload into CM/ECF.

NOTE: If using Nuance, it contains a flatten file feature which can be found by selecting Advanced Processing> Flatten File.