Barbara Soots, Washington OSPI OER Project
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division, Graduate / Professional, Adult Education
  • Accessibility
  • Ada
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Top 10 Tips for Creating Accessible Documents

    Top 10 Tips for Creating Accessible Documents


    Tips and lessons learned from creating accessible documents. This is not an exhaustive list so please add your own guidance.

    Top 10 Hints for Accessible Document Creation

    Note: This is using document creation with Microsoft products

    1. Use styles! (Home tab>Styles group).
      Use the heading styles in numerical order. (e.g.) Don’t choose heading style 4 for your main heading and heading style 1 for your subheading. Modify the style if you don’t like the look.

    2. DO NOT use the “enter” key to add blank lines or the “space bar” to add blank spaces.
      Instead, alter the spacing before or after the paragraph.
      (Home tab>Paragraph>Indents and Spacing)

    3. Avoid using tables for formatting graphics- tables are better for data display.
      Instead, try to use columns to “wrap” words around image.

    4. Make sure tables, images, and charts all have alt text.
      Right click on the image>Format Picture>Layout & Properties>Alt Text.

      Do not use URLs in footer or in alt text for images
    5. Make sure tables include a header row.
      (Table Tools>Design tab>Table Style Options>Header).
      Make sure the table header row is repeated across pages. (Table Tools group>Layout>Data>Repeat Header Rows)

    6. DO NOT merge table columns.
    7. Use descriptive text for hyperlinks – do not write out URL. Avoid “Click here.”
    8. View the navigation pane periodically to see structure of document.
      (View tab>Show group>Check Navigation Pane)

    9. Toggle on show/hide ¶ (Home tab>Paragraph group) to identify any blank lines and spaces. These will come up as issues in an ADA check.
    10. Run the built in accessibility checker to identify problem spots File>Check for Issues>Check Accessibility

    Helpful Resources


    Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay