Visual accessibility

There are a number of ways that documents can be made more accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.

Advice for using this method

Things to consider when preparing a document are:

  • Font size: Fonts smaller than 12 pt can be difficult to read.
  • Use specific styles for creating headings, which can be detected by screen readers.
  • Use tables for tabular data and avoid merging cells.
  • Make sure all text is left-aligned.
  • Avoid text boxes.
  • Colour choices: Pick text colours and background colours that are easy to distinguish from one another. The blue range is one of the first to deteriorate with age-related deterioration and should be a consideration when deciding on text colours.
  • Textual descriptions of images and diagrams should be included, as, unlike the image itself, these can be detected by screen readers and braille displays.
  • Use alt descriptions for images
  • Text in images will not be detected by screen readers.
  • Links should describe what is being linked to.
  • If your document contains columns, make sure there is adequate white space between the columns so that screen readers detect the column breaks rather than reading across the page.


Microsoft Corporation (2014). Create an accessible Office document. Retrieved from:

Smith, T. (n.d.). 'Accessible documents' in Blind Low Vision NZ. Retrieved from:

'Visual accessibility' is referenced in: