Reminder to “Flatten” PDFs for Just-in-Time and RPPR Before Uploading to eRA Commons

June 01, 2021
NIH building
NIH Building, open source

In preparation for the required use of the new biosketch and other support format templates for due dates on or after January 25, 2022 (NOT-OD-21-073 ), applicants and recipients are encouraged to start using updated templates for applications, Just-in-Time Reports, and Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPRs) submitted for due dates on or after May 25, 2021.


When uploading PDF documents to eRA Commons, it is important that all PDFs are flattened before upload. PDF files uploaded to Just-in-Time and RPPR in the following sections are now required to be flattened PDFs:

·      JIT Other Support File section

·      RPPR Participants section D.2.b New Senior/Key Personnel

·      RPPR Participants section D.2.c Changes in Other Support


If a PDF for these submissions on or after May 25, 2021, is not flattened before the upload to eRA Commons, this may lead to an error. 


There are a number of methods to flatten a PDF, the easiest of which is to print it as a PDF (see instructions).


To do this, go to File>Print, select the printer option from the menu that has a PDF option. Click the Print button and name the file.


In this process, you are exporting the layered PDF to the printer and saving it as a simple (flattened) PDF. 


Options may vary and are available with an Internet search.

About the Author

Kimberly Cannady, Ph.D.
Assistant Director
Office of Research Development

Keywords: NIH Policies