Office of the Federal Register (OFR)

Using Cross-references

1. Use cross-references sparingly and carefully.

Too many cross-references can make a provision difficult to read and understand. Include a cross-reference only when it is essential to the meaning of the provision, or limits, or makes an exception to the provision.

2. Make a cross-reference a reader's aid.

If you find it necessary to include a cross-reference, cite the specific section designation. After the section designation, if the surrounding text lacks context, include a brief description of the subject matter, so the reader won't be forced to turn to the provision to see what it's about.

See the above section.
Note the chapter on umbrellas.
See 45 CFR 103.1
See 45 CFR 103.1, Use of black umbrellas.

3. Only cross-reference your (or your parent agency's) regulations.

You may cross-reference the regulations of another Federal agency only if the OFR finds that the reference meets one of the following conditions (1 CFR 21.21):

  • The reference is required by court order, statute, Executive order or reorganization plan.
  • The reference is to regulations promulgated by a Federal agency with the exclusive legal authority to regulate in a subject matter area, but the referencing Federal agency needs to apply those regulations in its own programs.
  • The reference is informational or improves clarity rather than being regulatory.
  • The reference is to test methods or consensus standards produced by a Federal agency that have replaced or preempted private or voluntary test methods or consensus standards in a subject matter area.
  • The reference is to the department level from a subagency.

If you are permitted to cross-reference another Federal agency's regulations, your agency's regulations may not modify the referenced regulations . If any modifications need to be made, your agency must publish the regulations in full text .