Federal Register

OFR Handbooks Frequently Asked Questions

Federal agencies should use this May 2017 edition (Revision 3) of the Document Drafting Handbook (DDH) when drafting and preparing documents for publication in the Federal Register.

Federal agencies should use this April 2016 edition of the Incorporation by Reference (IBR) Handbook when drafting documents with and preparing requests for approval of material incorporated by reference.

 What is the DDH for? Do I need it?

You need this handbook to ensure that you have met the drafting and submission requirements for publication in the Federal Register under 1 CFR chapter I.

The DDH:

  • 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 IBR Handbook for? Do I need it?

If you reference material in your regulatory (or proprosed regulatory) text that is not a federal statute or in the CFR, you need this handbook to determine:

  • if 1 CFR part 51 requires that you incorporate that material by reference;
  • whether the material is eligible for IBR; and
  • how to request approval

What is the latest edition?

The May 2017 edition (Revision 3) is the current edition of the DDH.

The April 2016 edition is the current edition of the IBR Handbook.

Can I use an older edition of either handbook?

As of July 10, 2017, you must use the May 2017 (original or Revision 3) edition of the DDH.  We have changed some of our processes and added some long-standing practices that were not in previous editions of the DDH. (You may use the original edition, but you must use our new delivery address: 7 G Street, NW, Suite A-734, Washington, DC 20401. You also need Revision 3 for the updated links for using PKI and the webportal.)

As of April 1, 2016, you must use the current (April 2016) edition of the IBR Handbook.  This edition matches the regulatory changes to 1 CFR part 51 that were effective in Janary 2015.

What changed in this edition of the DDH?

We have reorganized the DDH and included a lot more examples, as well as clarified existing requirements (Revision 3 also includes our new delivery address and updates the links for using PKI and the webportal to submit documents for publication). The following highlight some of the changes to the DDH:


  • Common elements across document types are now in Chapter 1 instead repeated for each document type
  • More detail about electronic submissions with Appendix B as an FAQ
  • Internal cross-references are linked so that they are easier to find
  • Appendix C contains a listing of all examples and tables throughout the DDH

Document content

  • DATES and ADDRESSES captions now include all relevant dates and addresses, respectively, instead of limited to 4 of each
  • Underlining is no longer required to show italics - you can just use an italic font instead
  • Piecemeal amendments of appendices are restricted in some cases (see Chapter 7) 


  • We must receive your withdrawal letter by 4 p.m. the day before your document is scheduled for Public Inspection (PI) to guarantee that we can withdraw the document from PI and by 12 noon the day before publication to guarantee that we can withdraw the document from publication
  • If you fax a letter (of any kind) to our office, you must follow up with a phone call to confirm that we received the fax


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