Blackboard (Faculty) - Accessibility/Ally: File Accessibility

This document describes elements that help make PDF, Word, and PowerPoint files more accessible.


  • Use a font of at least 12 pts.
  • Use a sans serif font for better readability.
  • Use high-contrast colors (e.g. black against white).
  • Use the heading styles found in the word processor's style gallery, rather than using bold styles and enlarging text.
  • Use the proper heading style to create a logical document structure (Heading 1 for first level information, Heading 2 for second level information, etc.).
  • Give images alternative text that conveys the image's meaning.
  • Only use tables for tabular data (not for design).
  • Give all tables column headings.
  • Use list styles (e.g. 1, 2, 3 or bullets) found in the word processor's style gallery.
  • Hyperlink descriptive text rather than phrases like "click here."


  • Avoid scanning articles and other reading from paper sources. Try to find a digital version from online databases whenever possible. When scanning a physical document is the only option, ensure the scan is high-quality (e.g. remove notes in margins, unfold bent pages, scan at a high resolution using optical character recognition (OCR) settings).
  • When making a PDF from another text file, such as a Word document, follow the above tips for Word and then "Save As" .pdf. Keep the original text file for easy editing. 


  • Follow all of the tips listed above for Word documents.
  • Start with PowerPoint's templates, which are configured with proper heading and paragraph styles. 
Microsoft has a built-in accessibility checker to help you identify and correct any issues in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Adobe Acrobat has a built-in accessibility checker as well. Blackboard has its accessibility tool, Blackboard Ally, built into the course for faculty to use, as well. 

Keywordsblackboard, black board, bb, upload file to Blackboard, Blackboard files, file accessibility, document accessibility, accessibility, accessible, access, WCAG, WCAG 2.0, best practices blackboard, best practices documents, ally, blackboard ally, bb ally   Doc ID93114
OwnerCenter I.GroupSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville
Created2019-07-12 16:07:32Updated2024-01-11 11:31:57
SitesSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville
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