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Writing Resources

Learn how to create effective, understandable documents for publication in the Federal Register.

Document Drafting Handbook FAQs

Federal agencies should use this Document Drafting Handbook (DDH) as a guide to prepare documents for publication in the Federal Register.


What is this book for? Do I need it?

The Document Drafting Handbook:

  • explains how to create and submit documents that comply with OFR's requirements
  • provides numerous examples illustrating common situations
  • suggests solutions to drafting problems

What is the latest edition?

With the exception of Chapter 6, the October 1998 Revision (including Supplements 2-5) is the current edition of the Federal Register Document Drafting Handbook (DDH).

The August 2008 revision of Chapter 6, "What is Incorporation by Reference, and How do I do it?," supersedes all previous editions of DDH Chapter 6 and Supplement 1.


Can I use an older edition of the Document Drafting Handbook (DDH)?

With the exception of Chapter 6, yes. There is nothing in the October 1998 DDH that contradicts or changes the material in the April 1997 Revision. However, we added some new topics, and rewrote many sections and added more examples to clarify and expand our coverage.

  • Appendix D describes in detail how the October 1998 edition differs from the April 1997 Revision.

The August 2008 revision of Chapter 6, "What is Incorporation by Reference, and How do I do it?" supersedes all previous editions of DDH Chapter 6 and Supplement 1. It contains a new section on formatting incorporation by reference (IBR) language in regulations, several new examples of IBR draft language, and new requirements for agency and publisher contact information. You may not use older versions of DDH Chapter 6 or Supplement 1 dated April 2004.


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I have a comment.

Many of the improvements in the October 1998 Document Drafting Handbook and the August 2008 revision of Chapter 6 are based on comments or suggestions from readers of previous editions.

  • If you think we left something out, or should have done something differently, please tell us:

    • Send e-mail to fedreg.info@nara.gov

    • or write to:
      Federal Register (NF)
      National Archives and Records Administration
      700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
      Washington, DC   20408-0001

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