Rules for Text Fields

On This Page:
You will find several kinds of fields in your application forms - check boxes, dates, data entry fields and attachments. This page provides guidance on text data entry fields. In general text data entry fields only allow plain text (little to no formatting, only line breaks and spacing). 

Allowable Characters
  • The standard character set for our application forms is Unicode, with UTF-8 encoding (including Greek and other special characters).
  • Characters known to cause issues and recommended substitutions
o   “Smart quotes” or “curly quotes” that curve into your text - use straight single and double quotes (the ones you type from your keyboard) instead.
o   “Em-dash” (the long dash) - use the short dash instead.
Cutting and Pasting
  • Cutting and pasting text from Word or another text editor into a text field is generally OK, but watch out for proprietary fonts or special characters. For example, some word processors like Word automatically convert straight quotation marks into “smart quotes” or “curly quotes” that are curved one way at the beginning of the quote and the other way at the end of a quote.
  • Much of your original formatting (font, bolding, bullets, subscript, superscript) will be lost when you cut and paste (see Formatting below).
  • If your submission option supports application previewing before submission (e.g., ASSIST – Preview Application; Workspace – Grantor Image), then use that feature to check your data entry. You can then make any necessary adjustments to your application to make it look the way you want it to.
  • ASSIST notes:
    • Be sure to check field formatting in Edit mode or using the Preview Application feature. In View mode the text may appear squished together.
    • Cutting and pasting data from one ASSIST application field to another, may insert hidden characters we are currently unable to process. We have an enhancement planned for late March to address this issue.
Field Lengths
  • Our application form instructions explicitly indicate the allowable character limit for each text field. 
  • Spaces and punctuation count against the character limit.
  • Some characters that you won’t find on a standard English keyboard (e.g., Greek characters) may use up more than one character against your limit.
  • Text fields support plain text with limited manual formatting (line breaks and spacing). 
  • Much of your original formatting (font, bolding, bullets, subscript, superscript) will be lost when you cut and paste.
  • To format paragraphs, include a blank line between paragraphs.
  • To format bulleted lists, start each list item on a new line with a "list item" character, such as a hyphen (-) or an asterisk (*), followed by a space and then the item text.