Cover pages can be used as Page 1 for PDF forms. They are a way to provide people with additional information, instructions or context they need to complete the form. This is a good solution if the person filling out the form is likely to:
- print it off; or
- refer to the cover page to help them complete the form.
The reason you can include instructional text in a cover page is because we cannot include it throughout the PDF. This is because:
- there is not enough space to add additional text; and
- we can't reduce the font size to fit more words or your form will not meet the government's digital service standard for accessibility;
Adding a cover page is not a good option if the people who will use the form are likely to complete it in one go (it's short and simple) or if you expect they will be using a mobile device. In these instances, you could use a PDF without the cover page or a web form.
What to include in a cover page section
We've based this advice on a review of the government's forms. These are some of the pieces of information departments have included on the cover page.
- How to fill out the application
- Eligibility limitations
- Deadlines and important dates
- Supporting documentation
What not to include on a cover page
Do not ask people to fill in any information on a cover page. People tend to discard the cover page when they complete the form. The form should stand alone, without the cover page once a person submits it.
How to submit your cover page with your draft form
When you send your draft form into the forms design team the cover page and form should be in 1 document. The cover page is Page 1 of the form