Accessibility Tips

We are committed to making our website accessible to all audiences, including individuals with disabilities. Please review the different types of attachments that are submitted to us through work requests, and our recommendations on how to move forward in addressing already existing attachments or future attachments so that we could have the most accessible site possible.

Should You Remediate or Create an Accessible Attachment?

Making attachments accessible takes time and commitment on everyone’s part, but it can be done. Before going through each attachment to make it accessible and submitting a work request to add or update it, it is extremely important to think through the purpose of that content, ask if it is worth keeping, and then decide if it could be better represented in another way on your site instead of an attachment.

  • If it already exists on the website, check the file's last modification date to see if it is even accessed or if it could be removed altogether.
  • Is the attachment up-to-date? If not, it is best to get rid of what is not current and create from scratch.
  • Can the attachment serve the audience better in another format or be represented in another way?
  • Does the information already exist somewhere else? You should be linking directly to the source document. Files get updated frequently, and you should always link to the department responsible for keeping the document up-to-date to avoid outdated and duplicate content.
  • You could always remove specific attachments from your site, and provide a form for people to fill out should they want to request that info, which would then keep you in compliance.

Spreadsheets, PowerPoints, Word Docs, and Exported PDFs

All productivity software such as spreadsheets, powerpoints, and word documents must be exported for the web in an accessible PDF format. All PDFs should be checked via Adobe’s Accessibility tool to ensure it passes reading order, tagging, and proper accessibility compliance. Consider avoiding links in your PDFs as much as possible. Links may add additional quality assurance issues such as broken links and can cause compliance problems if not properly identified. To avoid accessibility errors, all PDF links must be identified and tagged properly using the Find tool within Adobe's accessibility checker. Get more information on making your PDF document accessible.

Third-party Links

UNLV is not responsible for the accuracy, authenticity, or accessibility of third-party websites. We encourage departments to research the most reliable and accessible resources wherever possible. However, these resources are outside of the UNLV domain/network and cannot be reviewed or remediated on behalf of the original authors. If the content is managed by a UNLV entity, then accessibility guidelines need to be followed.

Recommendations for Different Attachments

Below are different attachments that can be found throughout the website. Read our recommendations to determine the best path forward when/if representing this info on your webpage. If it is decided that it absolutely has to be on your site as an attachment, then make sure that you provide an accessible attachment.


  • Does your form need to be an attachment (downloadable and submitted physically?) or can it be created as a fillable and electronic form via Qualtrics.

Charts, Informational Displays and Brochures


  • We recommend writing detailed directions on your page.
  • Link to the maps page with Google integration.
  • If you use MyMaps within Google maps to create a custom map for your purpose, we could embed it within your site.
  • Screenshots of the generated maps will not be accepted.

Procedural/Screen Shots

  • Is it necessary to use a screen shot to convey your message?
  • We recommend not using screen shots and outlining step-by-step instructions.
  • If using screenshots, they need to be very simple.
    • Alt text (120-140 characters) would need to convey everything on that screenshot.
    • Alt text will need to be simple and clear.
  • Consider creating a video accompanied with accurate transcription to make captioning available.


We no longer accept flyers to post anywhere on the website. Information should be integrated within the webpage.

What We Do Not Build as Web Pages

The best way to ensure accessibility is to build out information within your website on html/static web pages. However, that may not always be ideal depending on the information and our policies of what we can and cannot build out as html pages. Documents we cannot convert to HTML include:

  • Catalogs
  • Manuals
  • Strategic plans
  • Reports
  • Faculty, staff or student publication lists
  • Handbooks
  • Memos/signed letters
  • Vendor Documentation


While these tips are handy, they do not guarantee accessibility. We recommend you contact the Office of Accessibility Resources for training and consultation.


You must have the following software:

  1. Microsoft Word (2016 or newer), Excel, and PowerPoint: Use Microsoft’s built-in accessibility checkers to check your documents.
  2. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC: Use Acrobat’s built-in accessibility checker to check your PDFs.


When creating a new document, consider avoiding certain design techniques often used in print (e.g., text boxes, call outs, images that contain text). The more heavily designed a document is, the harder it will be to make it accessible.

  1. Never save a document as an image-only PDF. Instead, Export to or Save as PDF; never print to PDF.
  2. Add a title to your PDF in Acrobat Pro under File > Properties. In Word, go to File > Properties > Summary.
  3. Include alt text for images.
  4. Use appropriate document structure when creating documents whether you plan to convert them to PDF or not.
    1. Use built-in headings and styles.
    2. Nest headings and subheadings appropriately.
    3. Avoid placing content inside text boxes.
    4. Make your hyperlink text descriptive and meaningful. Don’t name the link “Click here”, “Click on the link,” or “Read more”. Instead use the title of the destination document as the name for the link if appropriate, or some other descriptive and accurate link language.
    5. Use the Find feature to help you search for unmarked artifacts, content, comments, and links. This option will allow you to search the page or document and apply proper tags for the untagged items it finds.
    6. Create columns, lists, and tables using the appropriate column, list, and table tools.
    7. Do not press "return," "enter," or "tab" to add whitespace in your document. Instead, mark the text as the appropriate style (e.g., paragraph, list item, etc.) and edit the style to add the desired whitespace.
    8. Avoid large blocks of text. Convert to smaller, more manageable blocks of text.
  5. Language
    1. Use plain language (appropriate for the content)
    2. Avoid jargon and define abbreviations
  6. Fonts
    1. Use readable fonts and avoid fonts that are hard to read such as cursive.
    2. Bigger is better. Please avoid using small font sizes.
    3. Stick to black and white. Some individuals may have a disability that makes it difficult to see the contrast.
    4. Avoid the use of all CAPS which can make text difficult to read
  7. Backgrounds
    1. Avoid patterned backgrounds.
  8. Color
    1. Ensure colors have good contrast and pass the color contrast requirements.
    2. Avoid using color by itself to represent meaning or distinguish content (e.g., Style your links to be both underlined AND displayed in a different color).
  9. Use Microsoft and Acrobat accessibility checkers to verify documents. In some cases, it may be easier to recreate the original document following the above tips. Simplifying your layout will make it easier to make it accessible.

Videos & Podcasts

Pre-recorded video & audio: If you are utilizing video or audio materials, keep in mind that those items are required to have human-corrected captions. Auto captioning is not adequate and does not comply with current UNLV or NSHE policy.


Accessibility Checker Tools

Most of the frequently used software to create documents and content have built in accessibility tools.