Documents prepared for uploading to CabNet need to be formatted to ensure that they will display correctly for electronic access and viewing.
The types of documents that should be uploaded into CabNet are as follows:
papers – upload a Word version;
attachments – upload a PDF (not scanned).
Managing formatting issues associated with Word documents
After a Word document has been uploaded to CabNet, check the on-screen display of the document to confirm if it is displaying correctly, as the PDF viewer can pick up hidden inconsistencies in Word (and PowerPoint) documents.
Minor display inconsistencies are acceptable. Only materially significant inconsistencies should be addressed.
If you find a formatting defect, then:
- fix it using the guidance below, then upload a corrected version using the ‘Upload new version’ function under the 'Document actions' heading. When doing this, please include a version comment in the free-text field to explain the change that has been made, i.e. ‘New version uploaded to correct formatting issue. No substantive change to content’
- if you can’t fix it, upload a PDF version of the paper and email a Word version to the relevant Cabinet committee secretary (search in CabNet, or contact the Cabinet Office).
Guidance on preventing formatting issues
Standard and consistent formatting and styles
Avoid using different formatting styles in a document as they may not display properly in CabNet. For example, a numbering formatting style that is altered by manually typing in a paragraph number to the document may produce incorrect numbering on the document in CabNet. This can be fixed by using the Word ‘Format Painter’ tool across all paragraphs.
CabNet is compatible with versions of Microsoft Office from 2003 onwards. Documents with formatting from earlier versions can become corrupted when uploaded to CabNet, especially numbering.
- Fix: if your document displays corrupted numbering in CabNet, then copy the entire contents and paste into a new document (Ctrl/A, Ctrl /C, Ctrl/V). Upload the corrected document to CabNet using the 'Upload new version' function
- Avoid this happening by: creating a new Cabinet paper template whenever your organisation upgrades to a new version of Microsoft Office. Do this by copying the contents of your existing Cabinet paper template and pasting it into a new document. Do not ‘save as’ from the old template. After you have created the new template, then you can 'save as’.
Cabinet Office templates for the different kinds of Cabinet papers are all on the CabGuide.
Overlay of tables or text
Documents uploaded to CabNet are converted to Libre Office, the Office suite used by CabNet. Microsoft Office and Libre Office have different default page margins (Word is 1.25 inches (imperial), and Libre Office is 2cm (metric)). As a general rule, try to avoid using ‘enter’ or ‘space’ as a formatting tool, as it doesn’t always translate well when converting from Word to Libre Office. For example, if a Word document contains extra returns (spaces made using the ‘enter’ key) immediately prior to a page break, then in CabNet the text might display overlaid, particularly if it is in tables.
- Fix: edit the document to remove unwanted returns and upload a new version into CabNet using the 'Upload new version' function
- Avoid this happening by: not including un-necessary returns in a document, especially immediately before a page or section break.
Un-even spacing between paragraphs
Spacing between paragraphs can vary within a document uploaded to CabNet. This may result in a document with more pages than the original, potentially impacting on internal references within the document.
Fix: in the ‘Paragraph’ formatting function within Word, ensure that the tick box beside ‘Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style’ is not selected
- Avoid this happening by: as per above, ensuring that the tick box is not selected when preparing future Cabinet papers. As a consequence, you will likely need to remove returns within the document.
Prepare graphs and charts as single images
Graphics with overlaid images and text will not display as a whole image in CabNet. This can be fixed by selecting the whole graphic in Word, right-clicking, and selecting ‘Group’.
Avoid the use of elements such as drop down boxes
The content of drop-down boxes will not display in CabNet or in the downloaded PDF version of the document.