Best Practices, in a Nutshell

  1. Styles and Formatting: Use Headings and Styles to create a properly formatted and structured document.
  2. Hyperlinks: Position hyperlinks so that it is easy to get to the most important ones. Put the most important links first. Name hyperlinks sensibly. For example, do not use “to see more information check out this “Link” or “Click here”
  3. Tables: Avoid using tables for basic layout purposes. Use them for data.
  4. Bulleted or Numbered Lists: Use bulleted or numbered lists to break up dense paragraphs.
  5. Columns for Layout: Use the Columns feature for layout when necessary and separate columns with a wide blank space.
  6. Table of Contents: Use Headings (already established in Styles and Formatting) to create a Table of Contents. A table of contents leads to important bookmarks (and clickable links) if the document becomes a PDF.
  7. Accessible Fonts: Use a reasonable font size. Minimum of 12 point.
  8. Color Contrast: Use a high contrast color scheme. (Black text on a white background is ideal.) Never put two colors of similar contrast next to each other.
  9. Text Structure: Avoid dense paragraphs of text. Use lots of white space. Avoid using ALL CAPS, italicized words and underlining in large quantities
  10. Use Short, Simple Sentences: Use short, simple sentences for better understanding.
  11. Avoid ‘Busy’ Screens: Space information appropriately so that too much is not crammed into a small area.
  12. Document Summary Information: Indicate the document title in the document summary.
  13. Floating Objects and Text Boxes: Avoid the use of floating objects such as drawing canvasses or text boxes that are not formatted in-line with the text.
  14. Keyboard Navigation: Make sure your document is navigable by both keyboard and keyboard equivalents.
  15. Captions: Add captions to non-text elements in your document.
  16.  Headers/Footers – Avoid placing important document information in the Header or Footer.
  17. Alternate Text for Graphics: Always include descriptive text with any graphics.