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Office of the Federal Register Blog

Reader Aids

Reader Aids help people use and understand the federal rulemaking process. Reader Aids information is not published in the Federal Register.

The New Federal Register Index

The Office of the Federal Register is proud to introduce a completely re-engineered Federal Register Index.  It is available as a traditional printed product, but also as a currently updated online  service and a print-on-demand PDF file on

The FR Index has long been available to the public as part of a subscription to the printed Federal Register.  These days the printed edition is used mainly in a library setting. But even there, the product has never been particularly easy to use because date information was located in a separate table, not integrated into the text of Index entries. So a few months ago, the Federal Register 2.0 project team began brain-storming up a comprehensive solution to broaden public access.

The printed edition is now re-created in a two-column format, with a modern font, and direct access to publication dates (adjacent to page numbers).

For web users, our new online edition of the FR Index provides a snapshot of regulatory activity for each Federal agency. With just a glance at the FR Index, users can now see a definitive list of documents published by each agency, plus abstracts and hover tools showing which items are deemed to be significant under E.O. 12866, which items are open for comment, and how many comments have been received on items. And of course, all entries are hyper-linked for quick access to both the HTML and official PDF versions of Federal Register documents. The main link to the FR Index is located under the “Search” tab.

As an example, readers interested in tracking Food and Drug Administration regulatory activity can use the FR Index to quickly see a capsule summary of all FDA actions in 2013, and then survey the list of Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices for items of interest.

Our on-demand view/print PDF feature is another way to stay on top of regulatory activity. For example, you can download the entire FR Index issued to date, or just get an extract of a particular sub-agency, such as FDA.  For online viewing, hyperlinks are included in the PDF files.