Text Formatting Standards: A Comprehensive Check List

Rule Citation/Reference Numbers
Footnotes and Endnotes
End Matter
Special Formatting
Changes to Rule Text

Rules must adhere to a precise format. The format is not designed for aesthetics, rather for utility and economy. A consistent format makes rules:

The state's rulemaking process will function efficiently and economically only if nearly all operations (such as filing, publication, database entry, code production) can be automated. For purposes of drafting, disseminating for public comment, inserting in agency manuals, reprinting, or other uses, agencies are free to use any desirable format—as long as the official text, catchlines, and numbering are not altered.

When preparing rules for filing with the Division of Administrative Rules and publication in the Utah State Bulletin, agencies should use the following sections as a check list. This will ensure that the Division of Administrative Rules does not return a rule or change to the agency for text corrections, possibly delaying publication.


Presentation involves how the text of a rule appears on the page.

  • Pages appear in portrait orientation (horizontally 8.5", vertically 11").

  • Pages are not numbered.

  • Pages do not contain text in headers.

  • Pages do not contain text in footers or watermarks.

  • Margins are set at one inch on the left, right, top and bottom of the page.

  • Text is single spaced.

  • A rule includes:

  • one title number/catchline (for example, “R15. Administrative Services, Administrative Rules.”);

  • one rule number/catchline (for example, “R15-2. Public Petitioning for Rulemaking.”) ; and

  • a section number/catchline (for example, “R15-2-2. Definitions.”) for each section of the rule.

  • Each section contains text.

  • Rules and sections may be reserved, provided the word “Reserved” appears in the catchline and on the first line following the catchline and a tab. Numbering schemes do not need to be consecutive.

  • One tab (not an indent) must be used to begin each paragraph.

Rule Citation/Reference Numbers

Administrative rule citations are critical because they tell the reader where they are within the organization of an administrative rule. More importantly, however, citations are the tool that allows the reader to reference a specific passage of an administrative rule so that others may find the same passage. Administrative rules in Utah contain four levels of citation.

1. The title (“R”) number (for example, “R15.”) indicates the agency that wrote the rule. The title number:

  • is assigned by the Division of Administrative Rules;

  • may be changed by the Division of Administrative Rules to accommodate reorganizations in state government;

  • contains an “R” followed by a maximum of three numerical characters;

  • is followed by a period; and

  • appears in boldface type.

2. The rule number (for example, “R15-2.”) :

  • is preceded by the agency “R” number and a hyphen;

  • may use a maximum of three characters:

  • the first character must be numerical other than zero,

  • the last character may be alphabetical provided it is preceded by a number greater than zero, and that no other agency rule is numbered using three digits;

  • is followed by a period; and

  • appears in boldface type.

3. The section number (for example, “R15-2-2.”) is the fundamental unit of organization in the administrative code. Each section:

  • is preceded by the agency “R” number, a hyphen, a rule number, and a hyphen;

  • may use a maximum of five characters:

  • the first character must be numerical other than zero,

  • the last character may be alphabetical provided it is preceded by a number greater than zero, and that no other agency rule section is numbered using five digits, and

  • zeros may not precede (pad) the section number;

  • is followed by a period; and

  • appears in boldface type.

4. Paragraph or subsection numbers:

  • use a consistent scheme throughout an agency's rules;

  • are followed by two spaces;

  • should follow the predominant paragraph numbering scheme in the statutory code (for example, (1)(a)(i)(A)(I)); and

  • should not be subdivided more than two levels, and never more than five levels.


Following the title, rule, and section numbers, the rulewriter identifies the agency writing the rule or briefly describes the topic addressed. Catchlines:

  • follow the title, rule, and section numbers;

  • are preceded by two spaces (for example, “R15-1-1.  Definitions.”);

  • provide a brief description of the text without using unnecessary phrases like “Rules for,” “Rules of,” or “for the State of Utah”;

  • are capitalized like the title of a book—with significant words beginning with upper-case letters;

  • are followed by a period;

  • are not enforceable as part of the rule text; and

  • appear in boldface type.


Citations and catchlines organize the substance of rules—the text. What the rule text says is up to the rulewriting agency, based on its legal authority to regulate. However, the text formatting requirements are established by the Division of Administrative Rules. Rule text:

  • appears beneath a section number and catchline;

  • is divided into paragraphs—each paragraph begins with a tab and ends with a hard return;

  • is separated from the next section of text or the annotations by one blank line;

  • uses words, not symbols, to express concepts, measurements, and relationships;

  • begins with a paragraph number or letter, typically in parenthesis, followed by two spaces (for example, “(b) the name of the adjudicative proceeding…”);

  • does not include symbols, or any characters not found in the Standard ASCII Character Set;

  • uses characters for their intended purpose (for example, the letter “l” may not be used as the number “1” even though they may look identical when printed with a particular font);

  • does not contain hard return codes, line break codes, or words hyphenated to facilitate breaks at the right margin of the page;

  • does not include graphics, charts or maps (however, graphics, charts and maps may be incorporated by reference); and

  • is free of typographical and grammatical errors (run spell check).


Maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, drawings, forms, or similar materials are prohibited in rules (Section R15-3-4), but may be incorporated by reference. The Division of Administrative Rules allows agencies to include textual tables. Tables must:

  • be preceded by:

  • one blank line;

  • the word “TABLE” in capital letters centered across the page,

  • an Arabic number when more than one table appears in a rule, and

  • a table title centered above the table, separated from the table by one blank line;

  • not exceed 60 characters in width from the left margin followed by a hard return;

  • generally be comprised of columns;

  • use spaces, not tabs, to define and separate columns;

  • not exceed 20 columns;

  • contain data confined to the parameters of the column (data from one column may not run into another column); and

  • be followed by a center code and a hard return.

In some instances, an agency will include paragraphs of text within a table. The lines of text within these paragraphs must not exceed the 60 characters line limit. In other words, please insert a line break at the end of each line of text in a paragraph included in a table. The following screenshot illustrates a correctly formatted table.

A correctly formatted table as it would appear in Microsoft Word.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes (notes that appear at the bottom of a page) may not be used in administrative rules. The use of endnotes in administrative rules is discouraged. If information is important enough to include in a rule, it should be included in the regular text of the rule. If endnotes must be used, they may appear:

  • as numbers surrounded by parentheses, not superscripted numbers, symbols, or word processing codes that automatically generate references;

  • directly beneath a table when describing components of a table, separated from the table by a blank line and separated from the text following the table by a center code and a hard return; and

  • as endnotes at the end of the section in which the notes appear, separated from the text of the section by one blank line.

End Matter

The information that appears at the end of each rule includes: indexing terms, the date of last substantive amendment, the date of the notice of continuation, and legal citations.

Indexing terms:

  • appear at the end of each rule after the last section;

  • appear in boldface type;

  • are preceded by one blank line and the word “KEY” followed by a colon and two blank spaces;

  • consist of no more than four terms;

  • contain at least one term that describes the primary topic of the rule;

  • should be used sparingly; and

  • appear in lower case letters, except for proper names (i.e., Medicaid).

History—date of last substantive amendment:

  • appears on the line beneath the indexing terms;

  • appears at the left margin;

  • appears in boldface type; and

  • indicates the date on which the last substantive amendment to the rule became effective.

History—notice of continuation:

  • appears on the line beneath the date of last substantive amendment;

  • appears at the left margin;

  • appears in boldface type;

  • states “Notice of Continuation,” followed by the date of review.

Indexing citations:

  • appear on the line beneath the history, flush left;

  • may include additional citations added beneath the first statute citation; and

  • appears in boldface type.

Special Formatting

Personal computers and word processing programs allow users many added features that enhance the presentation of information. Most of these special formatting features, however, must be displayed and printed with the same program used to create the effect. Since rules are exchanged between different computer systems and programs, rules must be prepared in a plain format so that data is not lost nor distorted.

Special formatting functions:

  • may not be used within rule text, except as otherwise provided in this manual; and

  • include the following as examples:

  • boldface type;

  • underlining to show anything other than the addition of new text;

  • italics;

  • changes in type face, font size, or type color;

  • headers or footers;

  • page numbering;

  • line numbering;

  • tables generated with software;

  • graphics boxes;

  • text boxes;

  • software-generated cross references, tables of content, outlines, or indexes;

  • footnotes or endnotes;

  • block protection or conditional end of page commands;

  • page breaks;

  • column formatting; and

  • line drawings.

Changes to Rule Text

Laws governing the creation and amendment of administrative rules require that additions be underlined, and deletions be struck out and surrounded by brackets (Subsection 63-46a-4(4)(b), and Section R15-4-9).

  • New rules shall be completely underlined.

  • New language added to existing rules shall be underlined.

  • Deleted language shall be struck out and surrounded by brackets (for example, [deleted]).

  • Repealed rules are completely struck out AND surrounded by brackets.