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4. Drawings
You should use drawings wherever possible to help describe your invention. Drawings must be in black ink and drawn using either drafting instruments or computer software.
Significant features of the drawings should be clearly labelled by number(s) and described in the body of the specification.

Requirements for drawings


  • Drawings must commence on a separate page after the abstract

  • Images and drawings must be executed in durable, dense, dark, uniformly thick and well-defined, lines and strokes without colouring

  • Greyscale images shouldn't be used as information is lost when scanning them or converting them to black and white

  • Each drawing or figure should be numbered separately and labelled by a sign to indicate that it's a drawing

  • Drawing pages must be numbered showing the page number and total page numbers, for example 1/2, 2/2

  • Drawings must not be included in the description, claims or abstract

  • Drawings must not contain a frame surrounding them

  • A drawing must not include text, other than a word or words necessary to the understanding the drawing.

5. Gene sequence listings (if required)

A sequence listing is an optional document that contains nucleic acid and protein sequences. This is helpful for some biotechnology or medical inventions where:

  • Sequences are relevant for describing the invention

  • Sequences form part of how the invention works.

For example, patent applications for transgenic plants, engineered proteins, and diagnostics often include a sequence listing.

Nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence listings

How to format your specifications

It's important to follow the below formatting rules as they'll help ensure that your specifications meet the Australian requirements. They'll also be suitable for overseas patent offices.

Our specification template contains the correct page layout and styling, so consider using it as your base.

Page layout

  • The size of the sheets must be A4 (21 cm x 29.7 cm)

  • Landscape orientation must not be used unless there are drawings, tables, chemical or mathematical formulae that wouldn't fit in a portrait orientation

  • Pages must be printed on one side

  • Pages of a specification (except the drawings) must be sequentially numbered beginning with '1' on the first page of the description

  • Page numbers must be centred at the top of each page and should be located 0.5 centimetres from the margin

  • Drawing pages should be numbered using the format 1/n, 2/n...n/n (where 'n' is the total number of drawing sheets)

  • Paragraphs in a specification may be sequentially numbered from the first paragraph of the description, contained within brackets beginning with '[0001]'

  • Paragraphs should be left-aligned. Each paragraph number should align to the first line of each paragraph

  • The space between the paragraphs should be at least twice the intra-paragraph line spacing

  • Line numbering shouldn't be used

  • All pages should contain only one direction of text

  • Text must be set at one and a half line spacing

  • Handwritten text paragraphs or annotations shouldn't be used

  • All characters should be a solid dark colour on a white background.


  • Each sheet of abstract, description and claims must have the left-hand margin set to at least 2.5 cm and all other margins set to at least at 2 cm

  • Each sheet of drawing must have the top and the left margins set at least at 2.5 cm, right margin set at least at 1.5 cm and bottom margin set at least at 1 cm.



All text must be presented in letters the capitals of which are not less than 0.21 cm high, in a dark colour and be indelible. As a guide, a minimum font size of 12 points is acceptable.

The fonts should preferably be in solid black.

The preferred fonts are:

  • Mono spaced family: OCR-B, Courier New, Free Mono

  • Serif family: ITC Officina Serif, Times New Roman, Free Times

  • Sans serif family: Verdana, ITC Officina Sans, Arial, Helvetica, DejaVu Sans.

Narrow and cursive fonts shouldn't be used.

  • Bold and italic styles, and underlined text shouldn't be used.

Tables and formulae

  • Tables, chemical formulae and mathematical formulae should be separated from text paragraphs (see Appendices VI to VIII)

  • Tables, chemical formulae and mathematical formulae should be separated above and below text paragraphs by a clear space of at least 1 cm across the width of the page

  • Tables should contain one direction of text

  • Tables should have borders. The borders should be solid lines having a minimum thickness of 1.5 points

  • Each Table, formula or mathematical equation should be labelled by a sign to indicate that it's a table, formula or equation. For example, 'Fig. 1, Table 1, Math. 1, Chem. 1, Formula 1, Equation 1 or Compound 1'.

Terminology, signs and scandalous matter

Terminology and signs

  • Units of description must be expressed in terms of the metric system or, if first expressed in other terms, must be expressed also in terms of that system

  • Temperatures must be expressed in degrees Celsius or, if first expressed in another manner, must be expressed also in degrees Celsius

  • To indicate units of measurement, the rules of international practice must be observed, and

  • In chemical formulas, the symbols, atomic weights and molecular formulas in general use must be employed, and

  • Other terms, signs and symbols that are generally accepted in the art to which the document principally relates must be employed, and

  • The beginning of any decimal fraction must be marked by a period, and

  • Units, signs, symbols and other terms must be used consistently.

Scandalous matter

A patent request and a complete specification of a complete application must not contain or consist of scandalous matter.

Amending drawings

If amendments add or delete one or more drawings, you must re-number the drawing numbers and page numbers consecutively.

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