Accessible Documents

Common Best Practices for Accessible Documents

  • Font Style: Sans Serif font (such as Arial, Arial Black or Verdana), and be consistent with fonts used (don’t use multiple different fonts)
  • Font Size: minimum of 12 point font (30pt for PowerPoint presentations)
  • Line Spacing: minimum 1.15 (though line spacing should increase as font size increases)
  • Colour and Contrast: use colours with high contrast between the text and background colour (e.g. black on white, or dark blue on yellow)
  • Structural Components:
    • Pages/slides are numbered (excel sheets are labelled)
    • Headers are used to convey structural information
    • Left hand justification
    • Lists use bullets or numbers
  • Hyperlinks: should have meaningful text, not just the entire web address typed out
  • Tables, graphs and images: should have alternative text built in; and formatted to be “in line with text”
    • If a table spans multiple pages, repeat the Heading Rows on each page
    • Add a short caption to describe contents
    • Add alternative text to describe the table/graph/image through a screen reader
  • Print Materials: it’s best to allow for files to be manipulated prior to printing to not only meet accessible best practices, but also to meet student preferences. At a minimum, printed files should:
    • Still have a font size at a minimum of 12pt font (including text in tables, graphs and images)
    • Be printed on matte (non-glossy) paper
    • (Be able to be) printed single sided

What to avoid

  • Colour to convey information or emphasize importance
  • Use of bold, underline, italics, or UPPER CASE LETTERS to emphasize information
  • Textboxes, animated text or word art
  • Watermarks/background images
  • Text heavy pages


We highly recommend reviewing CLPE’s Accessibility Module from the Flexible Online Delivery Model. While this content was developed with online delivery of courses in mind, their content will walk you through:

For additional information regarding creating accessible documents, please check out the following topics: