You are using an unsupported browser. Please update your browser to the latest version on or before July 31, 2020.

Accessible Emails


Jess Thompson from the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) hosted a Webinar in February 2018 on Accessible Emails.  This webinar will provide tips and pointers on creating emails that result in more effective communication.

Accessible Email Webinar Recording

Accessible Email Pointers:

   1. Do not send image-based emails!

  • Text should be text – not an image, not layered on top of an image.
  • Attached posters/jpgs or insert them after the text email and provide alt text.

   2. In Outlook, set your default format to HTML

  • File (Alt + F) > Options (T) >  Mail (M) > Compose messages in HTML (tab once, C)

   3. Use Headings

  • Format text tab (Alt + O), select heading from styles pane
  • Heading 1: Ctrl + Alt + 1
  • Heading 2: Ctrl + Alt + 2
  • Heading 3: Ctrl + Alt + 3
  • In Outlook web app, build message in Word, then paste over – formatting will stay.

   4. Add Alt Text to Images

  • Right click and select Format Picture (Shift + F10, O), type alt text in description field
  • For a signature, build signature in Word (add alt text there), then copy over

   5. Use Formatted Lists

  • Select text, under Message tab (Alt + H), select bullet (U) or numbered (N) list.

   6. Use Descriptive Links

  • Select text, right click (Shift + F10), select Hyperlink (H), paste/type URL into Address bar.

   7. Use Good Color Contrast

   8. Remove any Background Design/Theme
   9. Avoid Using Spaces to Create Visual Alignment

  • Under Format Text tab (Alt + O), in Paragraph group select Line and Paragraph Spacing (K)


Accessibility checker

  • Check in Review tab (not in 2016?)
  • In web app, select “More Options” from new message menu (three dots), “Check for accessibility issues” is at the bottom of the list.

In Outlook web app, you can note your preference for accessible content.

  • Settings > Mail > General > Accessibility settings.


Additional Resources

  • 32
  • 02-Mar-2018