Open Government at the National Archives

Plain Writing at the National Archives

The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use." President Obama also emphasized the importance of establishing "a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration" in his Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

How are we meeting the goals of the Plain Writing Act?

  1. Our Working Group developed these tools to help employees use plain language:

  2. We've assigned staff to oversee our plain writing efforts:

  3. We're training our staff to use plain language in any document that:

    • is necessary to receive Federal Government benefits or services;
    • provides information about Federal Government benefits or services; or
    • explains how to comply with a requirement that the Federal Government administers or enforces.

  4. We'll report our progress and compliance with the Plain Writing Act to Congress and the public by April 13 each year.

    You can download and view a copy of our reports below:

If you have suggestions on ways to improve our documents and/or website, we'd like to hear from you!

Contact us at

  • Please include the URL of the web page or the name of the document, and we will work to make it plainer.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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