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Formatting of MS Office files for the European Central Bank

Call: Publication Production Works

Buyer: European Central Bank, Německo, Frankfurt am Main

Budget without VAT: €1.600.000

Contract from: 01/01/2025 to 31/12/2026

Bid deadline: 18/07/2024

Scope of deliverables

The deliverables to be procured are the technical production works of publications as described further in the below paragraphs. A more detailed description of some production processes can be found in the additional Annexes.

Formatting of files according to ECB/ESRB style guide:

The successful tenderer will be requested to apply formatting compliant with the ECB/ESRB style guide to text, charts, figures and data tables delivered by authors in MS Office files (including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). To automate the formatting of charts the Publications team is employing a Visual Basic macro, which will cover most of the layout rules for Excel charts and almost all chart types. The macro will be shared with the successful tenderer and all authors. Use of the macro by authors cannot be fully ensured by the Publications team, especially not in case of ad-hoc publications. Tables in Excel are always data tables. Tables with text-only tend to be written straight into Word. The deliverable “Formatting publications” is ordered the first time the files are sent to the provider. Any subsequent formatting of the English file or potential language versions is defined as “Formatting check”.

Production of infographics in MS PowerPoint

for examples, please see those used in the latest ECB Annual Report and the figures in the SSM Annual Report. The infographics will be produced based on drafts which the Publications team or BA will provide.

Formatting check of files

Ensuring that the files still fully correspond with the layout rules. The successful tenderer will be required to conduct a formatting check (including corrections, where needed) after a file had been formatted but was worked on by authors/editors/translators afterwards (likely to happen during the productions of the ECB Annual Report or Economic Bulletin).

Preparing files for translation

For multi-lingual publications the supplier will be expected to prepare the Word, Excel and PowerPoint files for translation, so that they are compatible with the internal translation software. The current software in operation is Studio 2021, with plans underway for upgrading to Studio 2022. For each file format the ECB will provide a list of steps to ensure that the file is compatible to the current translation software. For Excel some of the steps have been automated with the help of a Visual Basic Macro, which will also be shared with the successful tenderer.

Compilation of publications

In case of publications being drafted in separate, individual Word files (for example one per chapter), the supplier will be expected to produce from time to time compiled versions out of the individual Word files.

Generating the final output

for publication on the ECB’s website after finalisation of the publication’s content by ECB authors, editors, and translators. The recently adopted approach for ECB publications is to let authors finalise their content in MS Word and to generate HTML and PDF out of these Word files. This is facilitated using Word templates that contain a set of defined styles which provide well-formatted files, which are in turn the pre-condition for smooth Word-to-HTML conversion via the internally developed HTML converter.

Preparing final MS Word file for HTML conversion: if the Word file has been formatted according to our specifications, no further input from the provider is needed. A member of the Digital Publication team will upload the Word file to the HTML conversion tool. No input of the successful tenderer will be needed.

Production of final PDF file: convert from Word to PDF thereby creating a weboptimised and accessible PDF file for uploading to the ECB website (The exact specifications for PDFs will be shared with the successful tenderer). We are currently exploring the possibility of integrating PDF conversion into the HTML conversion tool. Consequently, it is expected that the need for this deliverable will diminish over time.

Implementing a disclaimer on outdated PDF publications

Occasionally, updated versions of publications are released. To prevent readers from accessing outdated versions inadvertently, we apply a watermark to the outdated publication, directing them to the new version. The successful tenderer will be responsible for implementing this process.

Identifiers (ISSN, ISBN, DOI, EU catalogue number)

Ordering identifiers from the EU Publications Office and maintaining metadata sheets for various publications will be the responsibility for the successful tenderer. They will be required to procure identifiers for each publication from the EU Publications Office, on behalf of the ECB, with no associated costs for the supplier. These identifiers are to be displayed on the imprint page of each publication. Additionally, the tenderer will be tasked with creating a metadata Excel sheet upon receiving the identifiers from EU Publications Office and ensuring its completeness towards the end of the production.

Production of ECB and ESRB Research Papers (ECB Working Papers, ECB Occasional

Papers, ECB Legal Working Papers, ECB Statistics Papers, ESRB Working Papers,

ESRB Occasional Papers)

The successful tenderer will be tasked with the production of these papers, which follow a different production workflow than the other publications (for details see Annex 2.5).


While the majority of ECB publications are produced in English only, some major reports are produced in all official EU languages, always starting with the EN version as basis. Usually, translation from EN into the other languages starts before EN is finalised, resulting in the need for several updates and for several rounds of formatting checks. The successful tenderer needs to have the capacity to format-check content in all these languages.

Standard workflow

The standard workflow to produce a publication at ECB is outlined as follows:

 Authors, often in groups, draft different chapters and prepare accompanying charts.

 English editors conduct a language check of the Word files, including any inserted charts/tables, followed by author review of suggested changes.

 Formatting is performed by the successful tenderer.

 If necessary, authors may perform further drafting or content updates, subject to an English language check by the editors.

 Formatting is checked by the successful tenderer.

 If required, translation into other official EU languages begins typically before finalizing the English version. Any subsequent changes made to the English version are communicated to translators for incorporation into other language versions. The preparation for translation is performed by the successful tenderer.

 Final approval is typically granted by ECB top management.

 Content finalization, if applicable, is performed by ECB staff.

 Final formatting and format checks are conducted by the successful tenderer, followed by production and delivery of the final output in various formats and languages as necessary.

Author support in use of templates

The Publications team assists authors with the use of templates. If need be, the staff of the successful tenderer in the Front Office will be expected to do the same.


To ensure efficient coordination of work, the selected tenderer must establish and propose a dedicated team consisting of 6 individuals, which includes a designated team coordinator, which must be named and identified in the tenderer’s offer. It is not expected that all the six team members will be required to work exclusively on ECB assignments on a full-time basis, but they must be available to work on ECB assignments when so requested by the ECB within a two-weeks’ notice. Work on ECB assignments on a daily basis is estimated requiring an effort of around 4 FTEs.

The coordinator’s role will involve overseeing the functions of other team members, including the distribution and categorization of tasks among external team members based on priorities set by the Digital Publications team. Additionally, the coordinator will handle administrative duties such as ensuring timely delivery of offers or invoices and serve as the primary point of contact for quality assurance.

It is expected that team members possess experience in project and stakeholder management as well as desktop publishing. The team will operate remotely and will have access to the ECB’s network through ECB laptops and teleworking tokens. Details on obtaining these tokens will be provided to the successful tenderer.

Furthermore, all supplier staff working on ECB publications are required to undergo necessary training, particularly on DARWIN and remote access protocols.

Additionally, team members are expected to participate in Digital Publications team production meetings via Microsoft Teams on Mondays and Thursdays. These meetings will facilitate discussions on upcoming priorities and address any potential issues with ongoing publication productions.

To maintain high-quality deliverables, the Digital Publication’s team coordinator will conduct biweekly meetings with the supplier’s team coordinator, in addition to operational production meetings, to address any general issues.

Contractor’s engagement

Strong engagement/ownership required from supplier

For day-to-day productions the ECB expects the collaboration with the successful tenderer to be characterised by frequent interactions, often by TEAMS calls and chats and in a pro-active manner, often to double-check and to prevent / to correct shortcomings that could lead to late releases, errors in the publication or lack of compliance with the ECB lay-out rules. Possible indications for good collaboration would include the successful tenderer making also unsolicited proposals for further improving the way the ECB publishes. The contractor will be remunerated exclusively based on the work packages indicated in the price table.

Parallel multilingual productions in first half of a year

During the first half of each year, the Contractor is expected to produce 2-3 issues of the Economic Bulletin, two multi-lingual Annual Reports (ECB and SSM), the Annual Accounts, and several large, EN-only publications, including Financial Stability Review. Additionally, in even years, a multi-lingual Convergence Report must be produced, with the possibility of producing a Convergence Report in odd years upon request by a non-euro area country.

The Publications team will strive to provide production schedules with dedicated time slots to the supplier at least two weeks in advance, via a shared Outlook calendar.

Working outside regular working hours

Human resources of the vendor are expected to work for 8 hours per working day maximum. In situations with tight deadlines, the successful tenderer must not only demonstrate the capability to scale up the workforce but also be prepared to work late hours, within the range of 8:00 to 20:00, while still respecting the 8-hour limit per day. This is especially crucial for the production of the Economic Bulletin (every six weeks) and the Annual Reports (ECB and SSM) in all EU languages (January-April of each year). If work needs to be carried out outside regular hours due to late delivery by the ECB, an additional 10% may be added to the deliverables provided, with prior notification to the publications team project lead.

IT requirements

The ECB uses Microsoft Windows 10, MS Office 365 and Adobe Acrobat DC. Within the next year all workstations within the ECB will be upgraded to Microsoft Windows 11. The ECB will provide ECB laptops to the successful tenderer to avoid technical problems. To access the ECB’s internal network the respective person needs an email address, a mobile phone number and attend a training for remote access.

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