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This page will provide resources to assist you in making your web content accessible.

Ensure Content is Readable

Create Accessible Microsoft Office Files

A Word about PDFs

Ensure the Accessibility of PDFs


Contrast Ratio 4.5 to 1.

Ensure Content is Readable

WCAG 2.0 level AA requires a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text.  This means that light text can not be used on a white background.

Large text is defined as 14 point (typically 18.66px) and bold or larger, or 18 point (typically 24px) or larger.

WebAIM, a web accessibility solutions company, has a free online contrast checker.  Simply set the foreground and background colors, and the checker will automatically provide a pass/fail grade.

WebAIM Contrast Checker

Microsoft Accessibility Checker icon.

Create Accessible Microsoft Office Files


Microsoft Office can help you check the accessibility of your files.  The most common issue - and easiest to fix - is the absense of alt tags on images.  Use the links below to learn how to use Microsoft's Accessibility Checker, and create more accessibile Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations.


Accessibility Checker Overview

Word Documents

Excel Workbooks

PowerPoint Presentations


A Word about PDFs


PDF (.pdf) is simply a file type, such as .txt, .xlsx, or .docx.  PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

PDF files typically start as another document type, such as a Microsoft Word document, and are then exported or saved as a PDF.  There are then two files containing the same content - a Word document (.docx) and a PDF (.pdf).  Many files found on the web are PDFs.  They are used for many reasons:

  • Preserve the layout and content of the file.  A PDF will appear the same for any user, regardless of the device used - PC, Mac, tablet, phone, etc.
  • Ensure all users can view the file.  If the file is a Word document (.docx), users on a Mac, tablet, or phone may not have Microsoft Word on their device, and will be unable to view the file.  Most web browsers have the ability to view PDF files without the need for additional software.
  • A more professional presentation.  Presenting content as a Word document (.docx) forces users to open the file in Word, allowing them to edit content and see the markup of the file.  Presenting it as a PDF, however, provides the "finished product", with no backend visible.
Adobe Acrobat is a piece of software used to create and edit PDFs.  Users can create and view PDFs completely without Acrobat.

Ensure the Accessibility of PDFs


PDF files typically start as another document type, such as a Microsoft Word document, and are then exported as PDFs.  Ideally, document accessibility should begin there.  Many things can be done to support accessibility in the source file, such as adding alternative text for images; defining structural headings, lists, and data tables; and providing a document language.

Whether or not you have access to a source file, Adobe Acrobat can be used to assist with PDF accessibility.


PDF Accessibility Overview
Learn the characteristics of accessible PDF files, such as searchable text, navigational aids, and a proper title.

Acrobat Pro Accessibility Checker
User Acrobat's built-in checker, which provides a guided, step-by-step approach to fix accessibility issues.