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It is important to make sure that your documents are accessible to as many people as possible. For FHWA and other publications funded through the U.S.Government, Section 508 compliance is required. In addition, there are an increasing number of lawsuits being filed against entities that post documents that are not accessible.

For tutorials, checklists, and guidelines, see


  • Use the accessibility tools built into MS Office and other products that you use to create documents.
  • "Print to PDF" will strip out all accessibility tags; instead, use "Export" or "Save As PDF."
  • Graphics must include alt text that screen readers can use to describe the content.
  • Color contrast between background and text must be compliant to WCAG AA standards, at a minimum. See A11y Color Palette, WebAIM Color Contrast Checker, WCAG Colour Contrast Checker.


Make sure that graphs and other images do not rely solely on color to convey information. If necessary, use online tools such as Coblis or Sim Daltonism to test your images.

Bar Charts

Even if you are color coding, make sure values or labels are included with each bar for screenreaders. If the color differences are significant to understanding the chart, make sure that they have sufficient color contrast and difference in darkness for a colorblind user to interpret.

The below bar chart could use editing for improvement of contrast in color depth in order to be interpreted by a person with monochromacy:

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