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Latest Tech Tips

December 2017

Most Official Bankruptcy Forms and several local forms are available in a fillable PDF format.  The advantage of using a fillable form is that it can be filled-in electronically and printed, saved or automatically sent by email.  Additionally, you can rest assured your electronic form will look and print exactly as it should across various computer platforms.  Conversely, a disadvantage of using a fillable form is that it remains fillable unless it is "flattened" to remove the interactive features.  What this means is that images, text boxes and other fields become integrated into the PDF.  Flattening prevents other users from manipulating or editing the form information, especially if the form is electronically filed in CM/ECF.  ALL electronically filed interactive forms must be “flattened” to ensure that the they do not contain fillable/modifiable fields. 

How to “flatten” a fillable PDF file.

Using Adobe Acrobat, follow the steps below to "flatten" a fillable PDF form:

  1. Select File, then select Print 
  2. Change the Printer name to Adobe PDF by clicking on the drop down arrow and selecting Adobe PDF
  3. Click Print
  4. Specify desired location and file name to save document, then select SAVE
  5. The "flattened" PDF may now be electronically filed in CM/ECF

 

  • Patch your computer’s System Setup functions so that software and operating system updates are automatic. An un-patched machine is more likely to have software vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
  • Install protective software. Anti-Virus, Firewall and Malware blockers are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. When installed, the software should be set to scan your files and update your virus definitions on a regular basis.
  • Choose strong passwords. Strong passwords use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters to create a mental image or an acronym that is easy for you to remember. Create a different password for each important account, and change passwords regularly.
  • Back up on a regular basis. Regular, scheduled backups can protect you from the unexpected. Keep a few months' worth of backups and make sure the files can be retrieved if needed. Learn how to back up your system.
  • Control access to your machine. Don't leave your computer in an unsecured area, or unattended and logged on, especially in public places. This includes cubicles and Quickstations. The physical security of your machine is just as important as its technical security.
  • Use email and the internet safely. Ignore unsolicited emails, and be wary of attachments, links, and forms in emails that come from people you don't know, or which seem "phishy." Avoid untrustworthy (often free) downloads from freeware or shareware sites. Learn more about spam filtering.
  • Use secure connections. When connected to the internet, your data can be vulnerable while in transit. Use remote connectivity and secure file transfer options when logged in to your system.
  • Protect sensitive data. Reduce the risk of identity theft. Securely remove sensitive data files from your hard drive, which is also recommended when recycling or re-purposing your computers. Use the encryption tools built into your operating system to protect sensitive files.
  • Use desktop firewalls. Mac and Windows computers have basic desktop firewalls as part of their operating systems. When set up properly, these firewalls protect your computer files from being scanned.
  • Most importantly, stay informed. Stay current with the latest developments for your operating systems.

June 2017

When a document is electronically filed, either directly by the filing party or filed in paper and docketed by the clerk, a Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) will display at the end of the filing process and will be sent via email to all CM/ECF registered case participants. The NEF will reflect party filer, date and time document was filed, active hyperlink to the filed document along with the associated docket text, and list of CM/ECF registered case participants who received the document electronically. The filer is responsible for serving all required parties who were not electronically served by the NEF.

A user's preferences for email notification are specified on the Email Information Screen (see image below) which is accessed via the "Maintain your ECF Account" located under Utilities. In order for a registered user to receive Notices of Electronic Filings for both Primary and Secondary accounts complete the items on the screen as follows: The user has the ability on this screen to enter both a primary and a secondary email addresses by following the instructions.

This screen also allows you to designate to which address(es), which cases, and whether you want to receive a notice for each filing or a daily summary report. The information is saved when you return to account screen and click the Submit button.

For additional information, visit www.flsb.uscourts.gov and select the Resources Menu under the CM/ECF tab >"Managing eMail".

To obtain a list of FAQ's visit www.flsb.uscourts.gov and select FAQ menu under the CM/ECF tab.