This Notice was RESCINDED on January 4, 2017, please see NOT-OD-17-030 that replaces it.


RESCINDED - NIH & AHRQ Change Font Guidelines for Applications to Due Dates On or After May 25, 2016

Notice Number: NOT-OD-16-009

Key Dates
Release Date: October 13, 2015 (Rescinded January 4, 2017)

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


This notice informs the biomedical and health services research communities of additional flexibility regarding the fonts used in PDF attachments included in grant applications.

For applications submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2016, the following new guidelines apply:

Text in PDF attachments must follow these minimum requirements:

  • 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%)
  • 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 as long as it is legible)

Since some PDF converters may reduce font size, it is important to confirm that the final PDF document complies with the font requirements.

The following fonts are recommended, although other fonts (both serif and non-serif) are acceptable if they meet the above requirements.

  • Arial
  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Palatino Linotype
  • Times New Roman
  • Verdana

Legibility is of paramount importance. Applications that include PDF attachments that do not conform to the minimum requirements listed above may be withdrawn from consideration.


Please direct all inquiries to:

NIH Grants Information

Email: (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-945-7573