We’ve been researching document formatting standards on the Internet in anticipation of adopting rules for Massachusetts effective January 1, 2006. Paper size is one area that requires some standardization. The rule will probably allow paper sizes of up to 8.5 inches by 14 inches which would include the great majority of documents now recorded. Some mortgages, however, are 8.5 inches by 22 inches (two pages joined at the top/bottom). When pages like that are recorded, we have to tear them apart. Often, the printed text straddles the fold so when we tear it, the text gets split apart. Another requirement will probably be that the printing be on only one side of the page. Margins are another problem. While it’s understandable that the person drafting a document will try to fit it all on one page, reducing the margins to a fraction of an inch is not the proper way of doing it. Miniscule margins leave us no room to place the bar code label with the recording information on the document, and extremely narrow margins on the sides and bottom might cause the images to be deficient. Many states require 3 inch margins at the top of the document and 1 inch margins on the side and bottom. The 3 inch margin might seem a bit extreme, but a 2 inch margin seems like it might be reasonable. Most states also have a minimum font size, usually 10 point which sounds reasonable. These items - paper size, printing on one side and at least a 10 point font – seem like reasonable standards to impose. We will write more about this in the coming weeks.