When you create a document or presentation, follow the tips below to make it more readable by everyone, including people with disabilities.
Include alt text
Alternative text for images, drawings, and other graphics provides screen reader users with an audio description of what’s on screen. Otherwise, a user only hears the word "image" and could miss any relevant visual details.
Always provide alt text for any visual data if there are no other text annotations. Some images automatically include alt text. It's a good idea to verify that the automatic alt text is correct.
Add or edit alt text
- Select an image, drawing, or graphic.
- Use one of the following options:
- Right click and select Alt text.
- For Mac: Press ⌘ + Option + y.
- For all other platforms: Press Ctrl + Alt + y.
- Enter a title and description
- Click Ok.
Use tables for data
Use tables to present data, not to change the visual layout of the page. In the table, include a heading row rather than start with data in the first row.
Use comments and suggestions
Use the commenting and suggesting features instead of writing notes within the text of your document or presentation. Screen reader users can jump to comments using keyboard shortcuts rather than hunting through your file. The file owner can also receive email notifications or review comment threads.
Check for high color contrast
High color contrast makes text and images easier to read and comprehend. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 recommend a minimum ratio of 4.5:1 for large text and 7:1 for other text and images. For example, avoid light gray text on a white background.
To check contrast, use one of these tools:
- Chrome Color Contrast Companion: This is a free Chrome extension that checks color contrast on a web page.
- WebAIM contrast checker: This is a free website that allows you to enter Pantone and font data to get a pass/fail rating based on WCAG 2.1 compliance.
- Accessible Web Color Contrast Checker: This is a free website that allows you to enter color values to check contrast.
Use informative link text
Screen readers can scan for links, so informative link text is helpful. It's best to use the title of the page as the linked text. For example, if you link to your profile page, the linked text should say "my profile," not "click here."
Check text size and alignment
To make your document or presentation easy to read, use large, left-aligned text when possible. Justified text is more difficult to read because of extra space between the words. To change the alignment, press Ctrl + Shift + L (Windows or Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Shift + L (Mac).
Use text to support formatting
It's best not to rely on visual formatting alone to communicate meaning. Screen readers might not announce formatting changes, such as boldface or highlighting.
For example, to mark an important section of text, add the word "Important."
Use numbered and bulleted lists
Google Docs and Google Slides automatically detect and format some lists for accessibility. For example, if you start a new line in your document by typing the number 1 followed by a period, the new line automatically becomes the first item in a numbered list. Learn how to format bulleted and numbered lists.
Use headings to organize your document
Headings divide your document into sections, making it easier for people to jump to a section (especially if they’re using keyboard shortcuts). You can use the default heading styles or create your own. Learn how to add and customize headings.
Include navigation landmarks in your document
Landmarks like headers, footers, page numbers, and page counts help your readers find where they are in your document. To maximize accessibility, especially in long documents, include one or more of these landmarks (available in the Insert menu).
Present slides with captions
When you present with Google Slides, you can turn on automatic captions to display the speaker's words in real time at the bottom of the screen. Learn how to present slides with captions.
Share a link to the HTML view of your presentation
The Google Slides HTML view displays your entire presentation in a single, scrollable HTML page, instead of one slide at a time. For some screen reader users, HTML pages can be easier to navigate.
To share a link to the HTML view of your presentation:
- Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + p (Windows or Chrome OS) or ⌘ + Option + Shift + p (Mac).
- Copy and paste the URL from your browser.
Publish to the web
When a document, spreadsheet, or presentation is published to the web, the published content is viewable as a single, scrollable HTML page. Screen reader users often find the HTML version easier to read.
Based on your account’s settings, when you publish a file, you can make it visible to:
- Everyone on the web
- Everyone in your organization
- A group of people in your organization
Learn how to publish to the web.