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Creating Accessible Documents Tip Sheet

  • Use a minimum of 12 point font
  • Use sans serif fonts like Arial, Verdana and Helvetica
  • Use alphabetical or numerical lists rather than plain bullets
  • Organize lists vertically for proper reading order
  • Use contrast colours for text and background like black and white
  • Use up to five colours for colour coding
  • Use repetition in design and navigation of content
  • Group related graphics, headers, and text together
  • Tag photos and images with meaningful labels and text alternatives
  • Avoid italics or underlining text, instead use bold for emphasis
  • Clearly title hyperlinks and provide context for their use
  • Use headings for ease of scanning
  • Use descriptive labels rather than arbitrary labels
  • Position images inline with text rather than "floating"
  • Use heading styles to organize content and provide navigation


  • Inclusive Design Research Centre, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). (2011). Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project. Retrieved from
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). (n.d.). The research-based web design & usability guidelines. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from