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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?

    For application due dates before Jan 25, 2017:

    • Font size:  must be 11 points or larger (smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is 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: must be black (color text in figures, graphs, diagrams, charts, tables, footnotes and headings is acceptable)

    For application due dates on/after Jan 25, 2017:

    Same as above except:

    • 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:
    • Arial
    • 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.

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