• Use 12-point font size or above.
  • Use a sans serif font.

Colour and Contrast 

  • Do not use a colour to convey a meaning.
  • Use sufficient colour contrast between text and background (contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text).


  • Adjust paragraph spacing to avoid blank lines through the Paragraph formatting menu.
  • Ensure page breaks are used when starting a new page.
  • Use formatting view to check for empty lines.
  • Use Page Layout tab then Columns to properly insert a column.
  • Avoid using spaces and tabs, it will not be recognized as a column by assistive technology.
  • Use Bullets, Numbering, or Multilevel List options to create lists properly.

Styles and Headings  

  • Use styles to format content and indicate headings.
  • Use the Title style for your title page. Do not use Heading 1.
  • Use Heading 1 as the top-level heading such as chapter or section titles and go forward one level at a time (i.e., move from Heading 1 to Heading 2, to Heading 3, etc.)
  • Ensure style elements have a different look from the others (i.e., Heading 1 looks bigger than Heading 2 etc.)


  • Add alternative text to images.
  • Mark images that contain no information or meaning as “decorative”, so they aren’t picked up by an assistive device.
  • Set wrapping style of images as “In line with text”.

Graphs, Charts and SmartArt 

  • Set wrapping style of graphs, charts, and SmartArt as “In line with text”.
  • Add alternative text to graphs or charts or SmartArt.
  • Add caption or in-text descriptions to graphs or charts or SmartArt.


  • Insert tables properly using the Insert tab. Do not draw cells. 
  • Use a simple table structure (do not merge cells).
  • Do not use images in tables.
  • Apply table style options using the Table Design tab: check the Header Row check box.
  • Review table properties: uncheck “allow row to break across pages” and check “repeat as header row at the top of each page”.
  • Add alternative text to table.
  • Use descriptive hyperlinks (i.e., ensure that the hyperlink has context and describes where it leads).
  • Link to accessible webpages/documents/videos.

Document Properties 

  • Add a descriptive title to the document through the Info section of the File tab.
  • Use a meaningful file name for the document.

Accessibility Check 

  • Review document using the built-in MS Office Accessibility Checker.
  • Make appropriate changes to the documents as indicated/required.


  • Photo by tommy via Getty Images. Used with permission.

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