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Bankruptcy Court Electronic Filing FAQ

The Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Court grants attorneys with certified User ID's the ability to use that system to file petitions, complaints and other documents electronically.

CM/ECF support is available Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. C.S.T by email at bankruptcy_ecf_helpdesk@txs.uscourts.gov or by phone at 866-358-6201 or 713-250-5500.

Documents & Links
Live Filing System CM/ECF Events
Local Rules Changes Registration Form for Creditors
Registration Form for Attorney/Trustee Common Court Forms in WordPerfect Format
Administrative Procedures NOTICE for Implementing Privacy Act Rules
Judges' 362 Setting Pages Cross Document Hyperlinks
Warning: Redaction of Sensitive and Private Information in Court Filings Attorneys User Guide - Bankruptcy
System Requirements for Electronic Filing

  • A personal computer running a standard platform such as Windows or Macintosh OS.
  • A high-speed Internet provider, such as cable modem or DSL.
  • A web browser.
  • Adobe Acrobat PDF-Writer software to convert documents from a word processor format to portable document format (PDF).
  • A scanner to transmit documents that are not in your word processing system, when required (see Administrative Procedures sec. 3.E and G).
  • A PACER account with PACER login and password (ECF login and password if you have permission to file electronically).
Portable Document Format (PDF) Information

What is Portable Document Format (aka PDF file format)?

Documents filed and stored in the CM/ECF (Electronic Case Filing) system are in the PDF document format. This file format (or file-type) is used to preserve the original layout of documents, such as case files. PDF allows each document to look exactly the same way on any computer at any time. CM/ECF treats PDF documents as originals by using PDF as an archival format, where no changes can be made to the original document once uploaded to the system.

How are PDF's created?

"CONVERTING" TO PDF - Word processing applications can "convert" their word processing files to PDF by using PDF "printing" or "converting" software such as the Adobe Acrobat Writer printer. The user "prints to PDF" and converts the document into a PDF file for use on the CM/ECF system. Best practices for converting to PDF include:

  • Only use commonly-used True Type fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier New. Using other fonts may result in your document looking different than the original. Use of other fonts can also increase the PDF file size.
  • Avoid special characters, such as bullets, checkboxes and other symbols. These characters may not be viewed correctly on certain computers and can increase the PDF file size.
  • If you use Word Perfect, do not use the built-in "Publish to PDF" tool. Instead, install a PDF printing option such as the Adobe Acrobat Writer. This will ensure that your documents are formatted correctly.

"SCANNING" TO PDF - When a document includes printouts from multiple sources or charts and/or graphs, it may be easiest to use a scanner to create the PDF file. Best practices for scanning to PDF include:

  • Scan in black and white mode only. Do not scan in color or grayscale. This will result in drastically larger-sized files.
  • Scan at 300 dpi (dots per square inch). This will ensure the best compromise between good document image quality and file size.
  • Do not OCR (Optical Character Recognition) the scanned document. This may allow the document to have searchable text, but it will result in very large file sizes.

How do I make sure that my PDF's will work with CM/ECF (the electronic filing system)?

By following these suggestions, you can ensure that your document will be compatible with the CM/ECF system:

  • There is a 5MB file size limit in CM/ECF. If your PDF file exceeds this limit, then it may need to be split into multiple files.
  • All PDF pages must be 8 and 1/2 inches in size exactly. Other file sizes may be incompatible with CM/ECF.
  • Follow the guidelines for scanning or converting your documents into PDF correctly.
  • Once the PDF is created, do not add or modify it in any way. Such modifications may be incompatible with CM/ECF.

Which browsers work with CM/ECF?

  • Firefox 3.5 and 3.6
  • Internet Explorer 7 and 8
Training

Attorneys admitted to the bar of this court must attend a workshop held by the court before being admitted. See Attorney Admissions

Hands on training is available to attorneys and support staff. Requests for hands on training should be emailed to cmecf_training@txs.uscourts.gov.