Text Formatting and Document Organization

Text Formatting and Document Organization

  • Use sans-serif fonts designed for legibility on the computer screen (e.g., Arial, Verdana, Helvetica).
  • Use bold or italic text to display emphasis.
  • Don’t underline words since on a web page this indicates hyperlinks.
  • Avoid using colored text (such as red) for emphasis since screen readers will not indicate it is there.
  • Avoid writing whole sentences in CAPITAL letters. Lengthy segments of capitalized text are more difficult to read for everyone, not only for individuals who are visually impaired.
  • Avoid including moving or blinking text.
  • Keep the number of fonts used in a document to a minimum.

Linked text is descriptive instead of just “click here.”

Best example:

Please visit the UCF Admissions web page.

Fair example:

Here is the UCF Admissions web page.

The screen reader software knows there is an upcoming link in the document and is set up to search for text by the link description. The words, “Click here” would not provide enough information to the user about the website.

Worst example:

Click here to view the UCF Admissions web page.

Lastly, verify that all links work.

Images and Graphics

  • Include meaningful alternative text (alt text) or a caption that describes the context and the function of the image.
  • Use images only to enhance the understandability of the content (e.g., illustrate procedures, concepts, and processes).
  • Avoid using images that are purely decorative or distract from the main content.
  • Limit the size and number of graphics used while maintaining visual integrity.


  • Use row and column headings to make tables accessible.

Backgrounds and Color

  • Choose solid-colored, rather than textured backgrounds.
  • Choose color combinations with high contrast so the image still makes sense when viewed without color.
  • Do not use color alone to convey meaning; e.g., use an asterisk (*) or other symbol; and if color is used, use it very sparingly.
  • If you are unsure about the accessibility of the colors you are applying to documents that you plan to put online in any format, please use the free Color Contrast Checker provided by WebAIM.

Using Different File Formats Online

Working with Microsoft Word

  • Format your Word document following the Document Formatting Guidelines to make the document accessible.
  • We recommend converting Word documents to accessible Canvas Content Pages to present content in your online course since they can be opened quickly using any internet browser, do not require additional software in order to view them, and can be easily navigated by screen readers.
  • Posting Word documents in your online course is the least preferred format as students need the appropriate software and must download or save the documents in order to view them.