Word Document Accessibility Guide

Use each section below to assist you in creating new documents or modifying existing ones to be more accessible.

Accessible documents use styles to give consistency, have sans serif fonts, contain section headings, provide descriptions for charts, graphs and tables, use phrases to describe hyperlinks, and group items into lists.


Word Heading Style screenshot

  • Use Styles to apply and format document  headings.

  • Use the bullet and numbering function for  lists (numbers if there is an order,  otherwise bullets).


Word Fonts Screenshot

  • Use a minimum 12 point font size.

  • All text should be left aligned.

  • Sans serif fonts are best.

  • Avoid large amounts of italic and all BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS. 

  • Use sufficient contrast (visual presentation of text and images of text should have a contrast ratio of at least 7:1).


Word alt text screen shot

  • Add alternative text (a narrative description) to images.

  • Avoid images that are text (e.g. scanned PDF files).

  • Use text equivalents for charts, maps, and diagrams.

  • Avoid floating items - use "inline" to display images, charts, graphs, etc.


Word hyperlink screenshot


Word Table Screenshot

  • Tables should be used for tabular data.

  • Do not use tables for layout.

  • Do not merge table cells.

  • One piece of data per table cell.

  • Text boxes in Microsoft Word are not accessible.

Additional Resources

This comprehensive guide by Microsoft should help you with most accessibility issues in Word 365.

These guides walk you through the major steps in creating accessible Word documents.

CC-BY-SASome screenshots and descriptions used from: Accessible Digital Office Documents (ADOD) Project (Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC)Opens in new window ) / CC BY-SAOpens in new window
Creative Commons Licence



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