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Using FederalRegister.Gov

Reader Aids

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

Each day Federal agencies publish documents in the Federal Register, including proposed rules, final rules, public notices, and Presidential actions. The print-based, official format of the Federal Register displays information in a dense format (3-column PDF) that makes it difficult to read and to process regulatory data in meaningful and innovative ways. This unofficial, HTML (XML-based) format of the Federal Register on overcomes the technical limitations of the official PDF format and demonstrates how an alternate format can effectively convey regulatory information to the public.

On this website, we display documents published in the Federal Register using HTML display and hyper-text links to pertinent information referenced in Federal Register documents. In the future, we will ask that the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register grant official status.

Reader aid items in this section

  • Website Features

    Sections We organize published Federal Register documents into six sections, similar to a web journal (Money, Environment, World, Science & Technology, Business & Industry, and Health & Public Welfare).  We think these sections include themes that have broad interest and which cover a majority of the documents published in the Federal Register. We feature articles in these sections … Continue reading “Website Features”

  • Document Features – Text

    Active Links Agency-included links When an agency has included links as part of the document text, we activate those links using the text in the document.  The link may not work if the link in the published document contained an error or if the target website is no longer at that location. Automated legal links … Continue reading “Document Features – Text”

  • Document Features – Sidebar

    Document Utility Bar The utility bar runs along the left side of the document and scrolls with you down the page.  You can access the Public Inspection version and the official electronic format of the published document using the 2 bottom icons. And you can print using the printer icon. Sharing You can share (email, … Continue reading “Document Features – Sidebar”

  • Commenting on Federal Register Documents

    Our “Site Feedback” tool and Federal Register email addresses are only intended for users to submit technical questions and comments on the functionality of the website.  These tools cannot be used to submit comments on rulemaking actions or to petition agencies on public policy issues. We have no authority or ability to process comments on … Continue reading “Commenting on Federal Register Documents”

  • Understanding Public Inspection

    The Public Inspection web page on offers a preview of documents scheduled to appear in the next day’s Federal Register issue. The Public Inspection page may also include documents scheduled for later issues, at the request of the issuing agency. This gives the public access to important or complex documents before they publish in … Continue reading “Understanding Public Inspection”

  • Search Tips and Techniques

    This site has a basic search tool and an advanced search. The basic search box appears in the main navigation at the top every page. The “Search” pull-down tab in the main navigation shows various search options: Document Search: You can search by citation (for example, enter: ’75 FR 12345′ or ’75 Fed. Reg. 12345′ … Continue reading “Search Tips and Techniques”

  • Subscription Options and Managing Your Subscriptions

    The site includes tools for sharing documents with associates and communities via email notification subscriptions, RSS feeds, and Twitter and Facebook social networking applications. You also can send emails of Federal Register documents to associates and communities on a one-time basis. The sidebar on the left side of the document provides links many of these … Continue reading “Subscription Options and Managing Your Subscriptions”

  • Table of Effective Dates & Time Periods

    March 2018 This table is used by the Office of the Federal Register to compute certain dates, such as effective dates and comment deadlines, which appear in agency documents. In computing these dates, the day after publication is counted as the first day. When a date falls on a weekend or holiday, the next Federal business … Continue reading “Table of Effective Dates & Time Periods”