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

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

Heading Styles and Formatting:

  • Ensure all headings are styled correctly

For further details see the video tutorial below:

How to do Style Formatting

Style Formatting


  • Ensure all images have an alternative text description.

For more details see the tutorial video below:

Alternative Text for Images

Alternative Text for Images

Adding hyperlinks & screen tips

Hyperlinks and meaningful screen tips can provide additional information to benefit learners. Screen tips embedded within a hyperlink can describe the linked resource, enabling the user to decide whether or not to follow the link. There can be particular benefits for some disabled learners.

For example:

  • On a well designed document a screen reader user could browse by hyperlink title. This gives the user the ability to 'skim read' the resource in order to find the next level of information. Please note, this functionality is lost if the hyperlink text fails to describe the link destination (e.g. if hyperlinks simply say 'Click here').
  • Print impaired users requiring more graphical materials can be directed to alternative resources

Checking the accessibility of your document

  • MS Word has an in-built tool to allow you check the level of accessibility of your document.
  • To view and repair the issues in your file, click Check for Issues & Check Accessibility.

Summary on how to create accessible info in MS Word:

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

Clear Print Guidelines

Clear Print Guidelines


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

Click Here