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Forms and Publications

What It Is

Offering easy access to online forms and other publications is a best practice for managing your agency website. Link to appropriate federal portals that offer forms and publications from across the government.

Our Online Forms Checklist provides a set of best practices to help you design online forms that are easy for your customers to understand and use.

Why This Is Important

Website visitors want fast, easy service—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don't want to have to wait until an organization is open for business. They don't want to wait in line or on the phone to get forms and publications they need to accomplish their objectives.

OMB Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites require agencies to (#1A) "disseminate information to the public in a timely, equitable, efficient and appropriate manner," and (#2A) "maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information and services provided to the public." By providing easy access to your agency's forms and publications, you can help the public find the documents they need and quickly get things done on your website, without having to call, email, or go in-person. This can save valuable time for both your agency and the public, and can lead to better customer service.

Implementation Guidance

  • Identify your agency's most commonly requested and commonly used forms and publications and make sure that they're advertised prominently and can be reached quickly on your agency website.
  • If you offer forms on your website, link to appropriate federal forms portals, to help the public find other forms from across government. Currently, forms.gov is the forms portal.
  • If you offer publications on your website, link to appropriate federal publications portals, to help the public find other publications from across government. Currently, pueblo.gsa.gov and gpoaccess.gov are publications portals.
  • If forms or publications (or both) are not available for viewing, downloading, or completing online, then—at a minimum—provide instructions on how to order them.
  • Provide public use forms in an easy-to-read, fillable format, if possible.



Many federal public websites follow this best practice. This practice is part of the guidelines and best practices published by the Interagency Committee on Government Information to aid agencies' implementation of OMB Policies for Public Websites.


Content Lead: Nicole Burton

Page Updated or Reviewed: August 26, 2008


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