Checklist for Accessible Documents

This checklist is intended to support the creation of an accessible Google Docs document (though most of these concepts will also apply to any document or web page).

It is always best to start with Google Docs if the information will end up in Google Docs. Copy/paste frequently brings unwanted (and unseen) coding that impacts the functionality of the document.


Landmarks such as headers, footers, page numbers, and page counts (all in the Insert menu) help your readers orient themselves in your document. To maximize accessibility, include one or more of these landmarks, especially in long documents.

Please be judicious with these.

Headers and Footers

Observe the Following Rules for Header/Footer Content


Use Heading Styles to Convey Structure

Use Heading Levels in a Logical Order

Use Short Titles in Headings

Text Formatting

Appropriate Fonts Have Been Used

Control White Space in the Document with Styles

Use List Formatting

Generate a Linked Table of Contents and Add a Cover Page for Longer Documents

Left justify text where possible

Paste without style


Use Column Formatting Instead of Tabs and Spaces

*Columns are available once you type some text. Then pick Format | Columns. You can use Column breaks once you have.  


Use tables for presenting data, not for visually changing the page layout. Also, be sure to include headers within tables, since screen readers automatically read the first row as the header row.

Do Not Use Tables for Layout Purposes

Do Not Use Heading Styles in Tables

Split Complex Tables Up into Simpler Tables Where Appropriate

Simple Table Structure Was Used

Control White Space in Tables Using Table Properties

Rows of a Table Breaking Across Pages

Set Header Row(s) to Repeat in Tables


Use Text for Hyperlinks Rather Than URLs

Ensure Link Text is Descriptive and Makes Sense When Read Out of Context

Ensure Link Text Is Identical for the Same Destinations and Unique for Different Destinations


Provide Alternative Text for Pictures

(*Use the Alt text field by selecting an image, then picking Format | Alt text.) 

Provide Captions for Images When Appropriate

Place Graphics and Images “In Line”

Other Non-Text Elements (Clip Art, Charts, etc.)

Provide Alternative Text for All Non-Text Content

Provide Additional Descriptions for Complex Images/Charts

 Avoid the Use of Images of Text

Do Not Use Text Boxes

Do Not Use Drop Caps

Appropriate Use of Color

Do Not Use Color Alone to Convey Information

Text Has Adequate Contrast to Background

Document Metadata

Use a Concise File Name



Sharing with others

Want to learn even more about accessibility and Google Docs? Read the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template Document. 

This document was adapted from Alt+Shift materials, with permission, from the Microsoft Word Document Accessibility Checklist developed by the Michigan Department of Education.

Alt+Shift is an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Grant Funded Initiative through the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education.Logo for the Michigan Department of Education