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Alternative Formatting

When developing materials please be aware alternative formats may be necessary and should be available. Guidelines for preparing alternative formats are as follows:


  • PDF format should not be used as it cannot be accessed by people who use screen readers.


  • An accessible website can be perceived, navigated, utilized (with a keyboard or devices other than a mouse), and easily understood (even in attention‐poor situations).

  • For more information on assuring accessibility in such situations visit: Accessibility Guides accessible by navigating Under the headline “Human Development,” click on “Disability and Health” and from there on the right side of the page under Topic Contents click on “Accessibility Guidelines”

Large Print:

  • Print on single‐sided 8.5x11” paper, stapled at top left corner.

  • Use letter format.

  • At a minimum use 18 pt fonts for all text. Larger fonts may be used for headings.

  • Double‐space lines and left justify all paragraphs.

  • Keep 1” margins on all sides.

  • Use bold serif font (Times New Roman) for body text and a bold simple non‐serif font (Arial) for headings and other information that is set apart from body text.

  • Make lines thick/heavy in charts and graphs.

  • Use underlining for emphasis instead of italics.

  • Do not use columns, bullets, decorative graphics, or boxed text.

Braille (Many people do not read braille, it is good to also offer a copy on a CD‐Rom):

  • To have a document converted to braille, take it to Printing and Graphics (SD‐G82), (202) 224‐6138. Please allow one week for conversion.

American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII):

  • These are files with special commands to indicate formatting information. ASCII format is the same as txt file format or notepad format. Using Notepad program to do word processing will by default give you a document in ASCII format or txt format. ASCII is used as opposed to MSWord documents or WordPerfect files.


  • PowerPoint presentations can be attractive, entertaining, and informative without flashing animation in contrasting colors.

  • Include a detailed explanation of the meaning of any charts or graphics used in the “Notes” section of all presentations. In addition, when presenting, take a moment to describe the visual message.