Public FAQs  Public FAQs
  NIH Staff FAQs  NIH Staff FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Form Updates 2016
Last Revised: December 20, 2016


  A. Font Guidelines

  1. What are NIH's font requirements for grant application attachments?

    NIH font requirements (effective for application due dates on/after Jan 25, 2017)

    • Font size:  must be 11 points or larger (smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is generally acceptable as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%)
      • Some PDF conversion software reduces font size. It is important to confirm that the final PDF document complies with the font requirements.
    • Type density:  must be no more than 15 characters per linear inch (including characters and spaces)
    • Line spacing: must be no more than six lines per vertical inch
    • Text color: No restriction. Though not required, black or other high-contrast text colors are recommended since they print well and are legible to the largest audience.
  2. Does NIH have recommended fonts?
    Yes. NIH recommends the following fonts at 11 point or larger without any changes to character density (e.g., changes to letter spacing, tracking, kerning):
    • Arial (NOT Arial Narrow)
    • Georgia
    • Helvetica
    • Palatino Linotype
  3. How can I tell if my attachments meet the "line spacing must be no more than six lines per vertical inch" requirement?

    In most cases, fonts that meet the “no more than 15 characters per linear inch” requirement will also meet the line spacing requirement when “Line Spacing” is set to “Single”. When in doubt, print off a sample and use a ruler to verify you do not have more than 6 lines within an inch.

    Compliant example: Arial 11 pt font single-spaced

    Arial 11 pt font single-spaced

  4. How can I tell if my attachments meet the "type density must be no more than 15 characters per linear inch" requirement?
    When in doubt, print off a sample and use a ruler to check a number of random spots on the page.
    Many Word processers allow you to easily adjust fonts. You can also switch to one of the recommended fonts (Arial, Georgia, Helvetica and Palatino Linotype) to check you are within the page limit and then swith back to your preferred font.
  5. Are there any limitations on what can be included in figures, graphs, diagrams, and charts?

    We recognize that you may not have the ability to adjust all figures, graphs, diagrams, and charts to meet our font requirements which is why our instructions for formatting them provide some added flexibility. However, we do monitor for abuse of that flexibility. For example, it is not acceptable to present narrative portions of your applications in table format to get around font requirements. Applications with excess narrative content in figures, graphs, diagrams, charts, or any other inserts placed in the research strategy section or other page-limited attachments in your application will be withdrawn.

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  B. Margins and more

  1. What is the maximum page size I can use for my application?
    Pages must be no larger than standard US letter paper size (8.5" x 11") and it is recommended that all pages display in portrait, not landscape, orientation.  It is important to ensure that the final PDF produced after scanning a document is no larger than this size.
  2. How small can my margins be?
    Margins must measure at least 0.5 inch (top, bottom, and sides) on pages formatted to be no larger than 8.5” x 11”.  
    Margins must be blank (contain no applicant-provided content such as headers, footers, or markings to indicate changes in an A1 resubmission application).  

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