United States Government Manual

As the official handbook of the Federal Government, The United States Government Manual provides information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. It also includes information on quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees. The Manual begins with reprints of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.


A typical agency description includes:

  • A list of officials heading major operating units.

  • A summary statement of the agency's purpose and role in the Federal Government.

  • A brief history of the agency, including its legislative or executive authority.

  • A description of its programs and activities.

  •  Information, addresses, and phone numbers to help users locate detailed information on consumer activities, contracts and grants, employment, publications, and other matters of public interest.


The Manual is published as a special edition of the Federal Register (see 1 CFR 9.1). Its focus is on programs and activities. Persons interested in detailed organizational structure, the regulatory documents of an agency, or Presidential documents should refer to the Federal Register or one of its other special editions.


FDsys contains The U.S. Government Manual for 1995-96 and all subsequent editions to the present. The online version and electronic publicatoin of The Manual is available annually to the Public. Documents are available as ASCII text and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files, and more recent years are available as XML.


The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register (OFR) partnership offers bulk data downloads of files to the general public via and FDsys from 2011 forward at


The Government Manual is also available at



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