Please note that all links open in a new window, so you can read an explanation, close the window and continue reviewing your checklist. The keyboard command to close the current window is Control + F4.
Outlook supports 3 formats to send and receive e-mail messages, HTML, Rich Text Format and Plain Text.
- Rich Text: Is only compatible with Outlook and Microsoft Exchange and consequently not a recommended format for consistency across email platforms.
- Plain Text: Does not support any formatting, including font size, but is nevertheless one of the most reliable ways to guarantee your email is readable by any platform and is very accessible.
- HTML is Outlook’s default format. One of the best ways to ensure your email is accessible in this format is to avoid over (or any) personalization. Microsoft Office products already use sans serif fonts, accessible color schemes, and semantically tagged styles by default. Merely increasing the font size to 12 or 14 points is enough to ensure broad accessibility.
Important: Be careful when pasting content into an email from other sources. This can often bring inaccessible formatting into the message. If unsure of the source formatting use the “Keep Text Only” option when pasting and then add any desired formatting using the standard Outlook composition tools contained in this checklist.
I used a sans serif Typeface/Font of a minimum of 12 point
- Why is font important in Outlook?
- How to select font in Outlook
- How to easily check the font in your messages
I avoided using all capital letters and excessive italics or underlines
I included ample white space between sentences and paragraphs
- Why is spacing important?
- How to create ample spacing in a message
- How to easily check spacing in your message
I use sufficient contrast for text and background colors
- Why is color contrast important in Outlook?
- How to adjust the contrast in my messages
- How to easily check the color contrast
I used built-in tools to create headings
- Why are headings important in Outlook?
- How to create headings in my messages
- How to easily check headings in messages
I use built-in tools to create bulleted list and ordered lists
- Why are lists important in Outlook?
- How to create lists in my messages
- How to check the lists in my messages
I used a simple table structure, and specified column header information
- Why are tables important in Outlook?
- How to create tables in my Outlook messages
- How to check tables in Outlook
Visuals, color and hyperlinks
I added alt text to visuals and tables that are part of my communication (message body)
- Why is alt text important in Outlook?
- How to add alt text to visuals in my message
- How to check that visuals are accessible in Outlook
I made sure I attached and gave descriptive names to all images intended for purposes other than my communication
- Why is it important to attach some images?
- How to rename and attach an image
- How to check the attached image
I made sure color is not the only means of conveying information in my message
- Why is it important to use text in addition to color?
- How to add text to convey meaning
- How to check color and other sensory characteristics
I created descriptive hyperlinks and screen tips