Instructional Materials Accessibility Tips and Resources

Refer to the Quick tips below as a starting point to develop accessible documents and presentations for your courses, sign up for accessibility training, contact accessibility specialists and online course developers if you have questions, and make use of the resources listed below.

Accessibility Quick Tips Checklist

Tips for Microsoft Word Documents

  • Use built in Styles and Formatting to format headings and lists in documents. This provides structure to content visually and when it is read aloud by a screen reader like JAWS.
  • Provide alternative text descriptions for images. Consider purpose, significance and context of image for Alternative text description.
  • Provide descriptive labels for hyperlinks (e.g. use Sac State Home Page instead of
  • Keep tables simple; screen readers read tables from left to right not in the way you arrange your data in the table. Tables should not be used for layout purposes.
  • Make documents available in other formats that can be accessed using other word processing programs (.rtf rich text format) or .pdf that can be accessed using Adobe Reader free software.

Tips for Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations

  • Use the Normal View to work in PPT (3 panes showing in this view Outline, Slide & Notes pane).
  • Use built in Slide Layouts that best fit purpose of slide instead of using text boxes; slide layouts generate an outline of the slide automatically.
  • Verify that the Outline pane displays your slides’ content and that it is in the same order. Outline pane must display correct order for screen readers to read content aloud correctly.
  • Use Effective Color Contrast between background and text for readability, e.g. black text on white background.
  • Describe images or graphics in the Notes Pane and add alternative text for each image.
  • If using video make sure it is closed captioned. If using audio make sure a transcript is included. Include a transcript for video when appropriate.
  • Use Sans Serif Fonts (e.g. Arial, Tahoma, Verdana), and simple and descriptive language.
  • Provide the original PPT file and a text version of the file. If providing a PDF version of the PPT slides, also provide a text accessible version of the presentation.

Tips for Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Documents

  • Start with an accessible Word or PowerPoint document before creating your PDF.
  • Use the Acrobat “Create PDF” button or Save As PDF option to convert Word or PowerPoint to PDF.
  • Existing PDF files (or PDF files not created using the Acrobat icon) use Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional (or higher) Accessibility checker to check for and/or fix accessibility problems.
  • Exceptions: Scanned documents or fillable PDF forms, use Acrobat to make PDF accessible.

Visit the Instructional Materials Accessibility Guides page to download guides that provide detailed instructions about how to make your materials accessible across different formats.


To obtain information about training workshops on how to make your Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations, Adobe PDF files and Web Pages Accessible, visit the Technology Training for Faculty and Staff webpage.

View the Instructional Materials Accessibility Checklist to help you prepare your course and check critical instructional material areas for accessibility.

Who to Contact

Information Resources & Technology Accessibility Specialists

Cryssel Vera, Instructional Materials Specialist, 278-2847

Charles Brown-Roberts, Web Accessibility Specialist, 278-1747

Dawn Futrell, ATI Compliance (Procurement) Specialist, 278-7643

Academic Technology and Creative Services Online Course Developers

Esther Hattingh –, 278-7637
Matthew Kay –, 278-5222
Monica Range –, 278-7994
Yazmin Vera –, 278-2762

Visit Academic Technology and Creative Services website for more information.


Accessible Technology Initiative Accessibility at Sac State webpage.

Academic Technology and Creative Services Creating Instructional Materials webpage. 

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