The EDGAR system accepts both ASCII/SGML and HTML documents as official filings. The SEC is not now requiring the use of HTML, but it expects to require HTML for most filings in the future.
Filers may not submit Form N-SAR and Form 13F as HTML documents. These documents have standard formats and tagging designed for presentation in ASCII, and their current format facilitates their downloading and use in other computer applications. However, filers may submit exhibits to Form N-SAR in HTML.
The EDGAR system imposes certain limitations on HTML documents. The SEC has adopted a specific HTML standard for HTML documents submitted on the EDGAR system. Because different Internet browsers used by filers or the public may display the information presented in an HTML document in a different fashion, a document viewed through one browser may have a different appearance and layout from the same filing viewed through a different browser. To maximize the likelihood of consistent document appearance across different browsers, and eliminate active content, the rules specify a set of HTML tags permissible in HTML documents. The tag list is included in the EDGAR Filer Manual. In general, the EDGAR system will suspend submissions that contain tags that are not permitted. The EDGAR system will accept a subset of HTML 3.2/4.0 tags.
Certain typographical parameters such as font type, font size, leading, measure and position of graphics, sidebars and boxed text will vary from a printed version of the document to the HTML version, due to limitations imposed by HTML coding and different browsers and monitor sizes. In the HTML version:
- justified text converts to flush left/ragged right;
- multiple columns convert to a single column;
- leader dots are not supported; and
- total, or double rules in tables are indicated with a single, thicker rule.
Use of Graphics: Required signatures, such as those on signature pages and certifications, must appear in typed, not graphic form. Information such as text and financial tables which users must be able to search and/or download into spreadsheet form may not be presented in graphic form. Forms of proxy may not be presented in graphic form.
EDGAR submissions may not contain tags used to include executable code, either in official submissions or unofficial PDF copies (see Rule 106 of Regulation S-T). In addition, filers may not include tables within tables (nested tables) in their HTML documents. This is because users of EDGAR information may find it difficult to locate and use information in documents with nested tables.