Electronic Filing Tips
Tips for E-Filers in Division One
Conversions, Scanning, Bookmarks, Links and Hyperlinks
NOTE: Sealed documents, portions of documents, exhibits and documents that a party is requesting the court to seal may not be filed electronically pursuant to Supreme Court A.O. 2012-002.
Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals accepts e-filed documents through AZTurboCourt. Here are some tips for e-filers, including several custom-made videos showing how to create better briefs for e-filing:
Making Your Brief Text-Searchable
Arizona Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure (“ARCAP”) 4.2(c) generally requires that documents filed electronically must be in a text-searchable format. To comply with the Rule and the court’s e-filing vendor file format restrictions, your document needs to be submitted in one of the following formats:
· Text searchable Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (.PDF),
· Microsoft Word 2007 and later versions (.DOCX); or
· OpenDocument word processing document (.ODT).
Documents created in Microsoft Word are in .docx format and comply with the rule. Before a document created in Word Perfect may be e-filed, it must be converted to one of the formats listed above.
Regardless of format, documents cannot exceed the size limit established by the court's e-filing vendor. Use these tips to conserve space when converting a word-processed document to a text-searchable PDF:
· Set output at grayscale (not color)
· Use basic font sets, not embedded fonts
· 400-500 pages of a document in native format converted to text-searchable PDF through a word-processing program will take up approximately 10 MB, recognizing the filing limit is 20 MB per file.
· If the file size of your document must be reduced, try clicking on "Save As" in Adobe, and selecting "Reduced Size PDF."
Here’s a short video demonstrating how to make a scanned document text-searchable.
Bookmarking Your Brief
Bookmarks are linked references to headings, title pages or the like within the same document. ARCAP 4.2(d) encourages parties to include bookmarks, which are especially useful to the judges who will decide the appeal. Filers are encouraged to include bookmarks in the table of contents of their briefs and appendices that link from the table of contents to the various sections of the brief or appendix. See ARCAP 13(a)(1) (“if feasible,” table of contents of a brief should include bookmarks to the brief); ARCAP 13.1(d)(3) (when appendix is filed electronically, table of contents must include bookmarks or hyperlinks to items in the appendix).
Bookmarks may be added through a word-processing program or after a word-processed document has been converted to text-searchable PDF. For information about how to use electronic bookmarks, see:
· Using Microsoft Word: Word instructions; or here
· Using Adobe Acrobat: PDF instructions
Here’s a short video demonstrating how to add bookmarks to a brief.
Hyperlinks to Legal Authorities
“A hyperlink is an electronic link in a document to another document, or to a website.” ARCAP 4.2(e). ARCAP 4.2(e) encourages parties to include hyperlinks in their appellate filings. In particular, filers are encouraged to include hyperlinks to legal authorities, such as rules or statutes found on governmental websites, or to cases and other legal authorities found on Westlaw or Lexis.
Hyperlinks may be added through a word processing program before the document is converted to a PDF:
· Word instructions
Or in the PDF after it is created:
· PDF instructions
Here’s a short video demonstrating how to hyperlink cases and statutes to a brief.
Creating and E-Filing an Appendix
The judges who will decide the appeal will have access to the entire electronic record from the trial court. Nevertheless, it is a good practice to file an appendix that contains record items that are particularly pertinent to the issues on appeal. Do not put everything in the record in your appendix; if you do, you likely will exceed the size limit (and certainly will defeat the purpose of an appendix). For that reason, an appendix should include only those portions of the record “that are cited in the brief and that are essential to decide an issue on appeal.” ARCAP 13.1(b).
The best way to create an appendix is to begin with “native format” versions of documents when they are available:
Because of size restrictions, if a record item selected for the appendix is voluminous and contains many pages that are irrelevant, consider excluding the irrelevant pages of the document from the appendix. (In such a situation, the filer should note in the table of contents of the appendix that the item has been excerpted.)
· Electronic versions of trial transcripts
· Electronic versions of deposition transcripts
· Electronic versions of other trial court records downloaded from trial court websites
Do not simply print out the documents and scan them together. Instead, convert each electronic document to a text-searchable PDF on your computer, then combine the converted documents together in one document. These instructions will be helpful:
· Creating a text-searchable PDF document
· Combining PDF documents
Some documents cannot be converted but need to be scanned using optical character recognition ("OCR") software. For example:
· Trial court orders not available in native format
· Contracts or other legal documents
· Trial exhibits
· Historical photographs
The danger of scanning a document is that you will inadvertently create a document that is too large for the e-filing system. To avoid that problem, these tips will help you create a scanned document that conserves electronic space:
· Use black and white (not grayscale or color):
· Avoid using resolutions higher than 300 dots per inch (dpi)
· Be sure to use a scanning software that provides Optical Character Recognition ("OCR")
If you have followed these instructions and the file is still too large, try reducing the resolution to 200 dpi. This will produce a sufficient resolution for most documents.
Important: Do NOT scan print-outs of reported court decisions for your appendix. They take up too much space. Instead, consider creating a table of authorities with hyperlinks to the electronic versions of the cases.
E-Filing a Combined Brief and Appendix
Where appropriate, Division One encourages e-filers to file a combined brief and appendix as a single document. See ARCAP 13.1(d). Given the vendor e-filing size limitations, a combined brief and appendix is most feasible when the appeal focuses on a small number of particularly significant documents, for example, a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Ariz. R. Civ. P. 12(b), or a case that turns on the interpretation of a contract or other isolated document. When filing a combined brief and appendix:
· The brief and appendix must bear sequential page numbers. That means that the first page of the appendix must bear a number sequential to the last page of the brief. ARCAP 13.1(d)(1).
· Each item in the appendix table of contents must include a link to the item in the appendix. ARCAP 13.1(d)(3).
A combined document allows a filer to include links in the brief to excerpts of the record in the appendix. Here's how to do it.
Here’s a short video demonstrating how to combine the brief and appendix.
Thanks to Eric M. Fraser, Osborn Maledon, and Beth Asselin and Alan Sparrow, Education Services Division, Arizona Supreme Court, for creating and producing these videos showing how to create better briefs for e-filing.