Tip of the Week: How to Locate an Executive Order

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An executive order is a directive by the president of the United States that manages operations of the federal government. Presidential executive orders, once issued, remain in force until they are canceled, revoked, adjudicated unlawful, or expire on their terms. Users can find executive orders in both the U.S. Presidential Library and the Federal Register within HeinOnline. Watch this short video or keep reading to learn how to locate an executive order.

Locating Executive Orders

Let’s begin by searching for an executive order recently signed by President Biden on police reform. The easiest way to locate an executive order is to search by number. For example, from the Welcome page, using HeinOnline’s one-box search, enter “Executive Order 14074” in quotations.

image of HeinOnline's one-box search

From the results page, we can see results from both the U.S. Presidential Library, and the Federal Register. Select turn to page to open either option.

image of Turn to Page section in results pages

Alternatively, if you are searching for an executive order and do not have the number handy, you can still use full-text searching. Let’s search for a phrase we know exists in the title of the executive order. Search for “accountable policing” AND Biden.

example of one-box search

Next, you can refine by date or collection. 

image of refining results by collection

Again, select turn to page to open the document.

image of executive order in HeinOnline

Finally, if you want to simply browse through executive orders, navigate to the U.S. Presidential Library and select the subcollection titled Code of Federal Regulations – Title 3. This series contains the full text of presidential proclamations, executive orders, and various other presidential documents promulgated from 1936 to current.

image of U.S. Presidential Library

Don’t Stop There!

Want to keep researching executive orders? Check out one of our top accessed blog posts on the most famous (and infamous) executive orders so far!

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