Queen's Accessibility Hub


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Accessible Word Document Checklist

Download Accessible Word Document Checklist (PDF 147 KB)

This document is available in alternate formats upon request. Please contact the Accessibility Coordinator.


  • Edit Styles in order to format document;
  • Style elements have a different look from the others (i.e. Heading 1 looks bigger than Heading 2 etc.);
  • Headings levels are correctly ordered;
  • Do NOT use font formatting to style text.


  • Use 12 point or larger;
  • Be consistent with the fonts used in the document;
  • Use a sans serif font – such as Arial, Helvetica or Verdana;
  • Using italics or upper-case letters for emphasis is not recommended.


  • Use appropriate colour contrast (e.g. black and white);
  • Make sure that all information conveyed with colour can also be conveyed without colour;
  • For print documents use a matte/non-glossy finish.


  • To start a new page use the Insert tab then Page Break. Don’t press Enter repeatedly to start a new page;
  • Adjust spacing through the Paragraph formatting menu;
  • Space between the lines should be at least 25 to 30% of the point size.


  • Set wrapping style of non-text elements as “In line with text”;
  • Add alternative text to graphics and images;
  • Avoid text boxes, Word Art, and watermarks as they’re inaccessible to screen readers;
  • Avoid using watermarks and background images as they can make documents illegible.


  • To properly insert a column use Page Layout tab then Columns.
  • Avoid using spaces and tabs, it will not be recognized as a column by assistive technology.


  • Use the Insert tab then Table to properly insert
  • Use proper Table Headings and check the Header Row check box
  • If a table is longer than a page; Heading Rows must be repeated at the top of the table on each of the following pages.


  • Ensure that the Hyperlink has context and describes where it leads
  • Avoid using “Click here” or “More info” as a link title

Graphs and Charts

  • Add a short caption preceding the chart or graph that describes their content.
  • Provide an alternative presentation of any findings. For many charts, the best alternative format in which to present data is a table with the original figures.  

Headers & Footers

  • Do not manually type the page numbers. Use the Insert tab then Page Number.