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Queen's University

Accessible Documents

Microsoft Word

It is highly recommended that users create master documents using Microsoft Word or its equivalent. It is also important to retain electronic copies of all master documents in Microsoft Word or its equivalent as this will make it easier to convert the document into alternate formats (i.e., large print, Braille) upon request.


The use of style sheets is critical to creating accessible documents in Microsoft Word, please consult this document: "Creating Accessible Word Documents using Microsoft Word 2007".

PDF documents created from scanned documents are not accessible to persons using screen readers. The scanning process creates an image and screen readers cannot decipher information contained in images.

Documents created using Microsoft Word or its equivalent and following the above style sheet guidelines can be converted into accessible PDF documents as long as it is exported correctly. For instructions on creating accessible PDF documents including how to export them correctly, please consult this document:"Creating Accessible Adobe® PDF Files".


(Referenced from the Innovation Centre, University of Ontario Institute of Technology).

Considering that PowerPoint is a visual tool intended to gain the audience's attention and assist with communicating one's message, slides should be simple in design: plain backgrounds, limited text and visually stimulating.

Accessible PowerPoint presentations include:

  • high colour contrast between foreground and background (ideally, yellow font on black background)
  • the largest font possible, a minimum of 16pt
  • plain backgrounds or backgrounds that avoid busy patterns
  • avoids too much text, images or both

It is also good practice to always create a text-only version of your PowerPoint. This will make it easier for persons to access information using adaptive technology and enables them to convert it to other formats, including enlarged text, etc.

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