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How to:

Provide        Accessible         Text

The aim is to ensure that written material takes into account the visual stress experienced by some dyslexic people, and to facilitate ease of reading.

Adopting best practice for dyslexic readers has the advantage of making documents easier on the eye for everyone.


People’s preferences will differ. I struggle with bold fonts and love block capitals but that’s not the case for lots of people with SpLDs. It is best practice to provide accessible documents and also provide for specific needs.



  • Try to use paper thick enough to prevent the other side showing through

  • Use matt paper rather than anything shiny/glossy.

  • Avoid white backgrounds for paper, computer and visual aids. White can appear too dazzling. Use cream or a soft pastel colour. Some dyslexic people will have their own colour preference – just ask!



  • Use a plain, evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial and Comic Sans. Alternatives include Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet.

  • Font size should be 12-14 point. Some dyslexic readers may request a larger font.

  • Use dark coloured text on a light (not white) background.

  • For more detailed information and discussion on fonts, see the BDA New Technologies Committee website:


Headings and Emphasis

  • Avoid underlining and italics: these tend to make the text appear to run together. Use bold instead.

  • AVOID TEXT IN BLOCK CAPITALS: this is much harder to read.

  • For Headings, use larger font size in bold, lower case.

  • Boxes and borders can be used for effective emphasis.



  • Use left-justified with ragged right edge.

  • Avoid narrow columns (as used in newspapers).

  •  Lines should not be too long: 60 to70 characters.

  • Avoid cramping material and using long, dense paragraphs: space it out.

  • Line spacing of 1.5 is preferable.

  • Avoid starting a sentence at the end of a line.

  •  Use bullet points and numbering rather than continuous prose.


Writing Style.

  • Use short, simple sentences in a direct style.

  • Give instructions clearly. Avoid long sentences of explanation.

  • Use active rather than passive voice.

  • Avoid double negatives.

  • Be concise.


Increasing accessibility.

  • Flow charts are ideal for explaining procedures.

  • Pictograms and graphics help to locate information.

  • Lists of 'do's and 'don'ts' are more useful than continuous text to highlight aspects of good practice.

  • Avoid abbreviations if possible or provide a glossary of abbreviations and jargon.

  • For long documents include a contents page at the beginning and an index at end


This is a more accessible version of the information provided here by the British Dyslexia Association

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