Format – The right format for your content

Use our accessible format picker to decide the best format for your content. Hint: The most accessible content format for the web is a webpage.

How should you format your content?

A description about each accessible format has been included under the table.

You can find tips and resources to help improve the accessibility of your content using the accessibility toolkit.

To learn more about accessibility, complete the Accessibility training (staff only).

Content type Accessible formats Things to consider
Fact sheet


Accessible PDF for print

If not for print, the information should go on a relevant webpage.

HTML web form

Interactive PDF

If your form will only be printed and will not be accessed online, it can be a document. Do not use tables or text boxes to lay out content.
Flyer for print

Accessible PDF for print

(If providing as a download, give main information on a webpage)

Only use if intended for print. Remember to check colour contrast and font size.
Learning resource


Accessible Word document

Accessible PDF

If the user will need to customise content in the learning resource, an accessible Word document would be the best choice.
Link to external documents from other organisations The department isn't responsible for this content. Link to the summary or webpage where the document lives. If it's not accessible, indicate this in your page content and provide a contact for assistance.


Accessible PDF for print

Create just as you would a normal webpage
Policy implementation documents - procedures and guidelines Accessible PDF
Report or long document

Long content page

Accessible PDF

Ensure content/data displayed in graphs is also explained in text. H2 and H3 headings will automatically build an index on the right of a long content page.
Scanned document


Accessible PDF

If keeping as a scanned document for security/legal reasons, treat as an image. Provide a contact for assistance in the alternative text.

Otherwise, use recognise text tool to create accessible PDF. If it doesn't contain signatures, publish as webpage.

Spreadsheet or data

Accessible Excel

Google sheets document

Template Accessible Word document Start with the templates from the brand library (staff only).
Third party report commissioned by the DoE


Accessible PDF

Request author to supply an accessible PDF when commissioning the report. Or have it published to a webpage.

For online, must have closed captions, and a transcript.

For offline, must have open and closed captions.

Audio descriptions will make your video even more accessible. Try working them into the script.

Learn more about your accessible format options...


A webpage meets accessibility requirements and is the preferred format for publishing content on the department's websites.

Long content page

A long content page is designed to display lengthy, complex content in a format that's easy to read, navigate, search and print (all on one page). It's useful for guidelines, manuals and large amounts of related content that's best displayed all on one page - such as our Content style guide.

The long content page is particularly useful for migrating large and in-accessible PDFs and documents into an accessible and printable webpage format.

Learn more about the long content page.

Accessible Word document

An accessible Word document is an important step for several reasons. An accessible Word doc can be used as the source for other outputs such as webpage, PDF or design job, or for a standalone accessible document.

If the user will need to customise the document for their own use, such as with a template or learning resource, an accessible Word document is the best choice.

Accessible PDF

For print

If your content is intended for print only, your main concerns are design decisions like colour contrast, font type and font size. Find resources for inclusive rich media in the toolkit.

However, if you will be distributing flyers, newsletters, posters, or other print material digitally (webpage, TRIM, SharePoint etc), you should follow the same standards as you would in creating an accessible PDF document. That is, it needs to be tagged correctly so it can be read by screen reader users. You should also indicate in the webpage content that it's intended for print and provide important information from the flyer on the webpage.

For web

In most cases PDFs should not be the only format for information published online. Webpages are a better alternative.

Exceptions where a standalone PDF can be published online:

  • documents intended for the intranet where the standard operating environment is a desktop computer.
  • documents where you would reasonably expect users to access the content on a desktop computer. For example, a long complex document or report
  • interactive PDF forms. In this case provide contact details for assistance.
  • documents where security is of prime concern and data custodian requirements are critical.

Excel spreadsheet

When tables are complex, offer each one as a separate Excel file. Excel has an accessibility checker too.

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