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Microsoft Word - Guidelines for Accessible Documents

These guidelines apply to all Microsoft Word documents, including those in print and those which will be read electronically (e.g. email or a website).


When creating MS Word documents ensure you:

Font Styles:

  • use a sans serif font (e.g. Arial, Verdana, Calibri).
  • use a text size no smaller than 12 point.
  • use 1.5 spacing.
  • avoid underlining or italicising text. Use bold instead.
  • left align text. Justified text can lead to users focusing on the 'rivers of white space' between the words, not the words themselves.

For further details see Font styles


Font Colour:

  • use a good contrast between the font and background colour.
  • avoid black text on a pure white background.
  • use cream paper rather than white
  • avoid using colour alone to highlight issues or provide definition.

For further details see Font Colour and Background colour


Heading Styles and Formatting:

  • ensure all headings are styled correctly.

For further details see Heading styles and formatting


  • ensure all images have an alternative text description.

For more details see Best Practice with Images

Adding hyperlinks & screen tips

You can enhance the clarity of some text documents with screen tips. See Screen tip Hyperlinks

Checking the accessibility of your document

  • MS Word has an in-built tool to allow you check the level of accessibility of your document.

For more details see Checking your document for Accessibility

Download a summary on how to create accessible info in MS Word:

Summary Guidelines printable version (Word, 433kb)

Summary guidelines: Video tutorial (length 1m 50s)


A range of accessible templates are available to download and use via the Universities identity visual resource page -

Last updated 27 March 2018 by Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Email).