Document Formatting Guidelines
This page will walk you through the process of creating materials (e.g., Syllabus, Schedule, Protocols, content pages) for your online course by starting with Word documents and then converting these document to accessible HTML web pages or accessible PDFs.
Table of Contents
We recommend that you start by creating documents in Word and follow the steps below to format these documents. You can then convert these formatted Word documents to easily accessible HTML web pages by submitting documents to the Techrangers or convert the documents to accessible PDFs. Creating properly formatted documents will ensure that your course materials are accessible (Section 508) to all students.
Please note: Techranger support is provided for IDL6543 certified faculty only. However, if you are not IDL6543 certified, please refer to the steps below to create accessible course materials (HTML, PDF, Word) since you are responsible for the accessibility of your course materials.
About HTML, Word, and PDF Documents
HTML course web pages are the preferred format to present content in your online course since they can be opened quickly using any internet browser, do not require additional software in order to view them, and can be easily navigated by screen readers. Posting Word documents in your online course is the least preferred format as students need the appropriate software and must download or save the documents in order to view them.
PDF documents may be appropriate to use in your online course if the document is a form, historical document, or if the document is has a complex layout. PDF documents can be created to be accessible, however, they are not as navigable with a screen reader as HTML and require Adobe Reader in order to view them.
How to Format Documents
- Follow the formatting checklist below to properly format your documents. Applying the formatting styles below (headings, lists, tables, etc.) adds an invisible “tag” that identifies the different parts of your document. Changing the text font size and color does not apply the same “tag” as the formatting styles listed below.
- We recommend that you download and use one of the formatted Word template files to get started. These template files contain the required styles and formatting (e.g., headings).
- If you have an existing Word document, you may follow the formatting checklist below and apply the formatting styles to your document.
- Apply heading styles to your document. Headings are required for screen readers to be able to read the document.
- For more than one column of text, create a table with column or row headings.
- Apply the appropriate list style to bulleted and/or numbered lists.
- Provide alternative text for all images in your document.
- Insert active hyperlinks for all URLs in your document.
- Use bold or italic text to display emphasis. (Please do not use underlined words. Underlined text on a web page indicates hyperlinks.)
- To ensure accessibility, please do not use colors to indicate meaning (e.g., colored text or highlighted table rows and columns).
- We recommend that you create a Word document that is no longer than 3-5 pages. If your Word document is longer than 5 pages, consider “chunking” or dividing the material into multiple documents. This creates more manageable “bite size pieces” for your students to absorb and requires less page scrolling.
- Consider adding icons (e.g., Do This, Read This, Watch This, etc.) to your course pages to bring attention to a specific area of text or media. To view the standard icons available visit the icon preview page.
- If you would like an icon added to the page, insert a comment where you would like the icon to be placed that indicates which icon you would like to use. (e.g., Insert Do This icon)
Word template files (.docx)
The following template files contain the required styles and formatting. You may download and edit these template files to create your documents. If you accidentally remove the formatting, refer to the formatting checklist above for directions on how to reapply.
Template Files (Word 2007 and above .docx files)
Having trouble formatting documents?
The formatting options in the following locked template files have been simplified to assist you with applying formatting styles. Use the quick styles gallery (Figure 1) to apply headings, bulleted lists, and numbered lists to your document.
Figure 1: Quick Styles Gallery
If for some reason the styles need to be unlocked, follow the steps below:
- Select the Review ribbon at the top of the screen.
- Click the Restrict Editing button (Mac: Document button).
- Enter password ucf.
Locked Template Files (.docx)
How to Convert Documents to HTML or PDF
- To convert documents to HTML, you may submit documents to the Center for Distributed Learning by completing the Document Submission Form. Please note: This service is provided to IDL certified faculty.
- To convert documents to PDFs, please go to the PDF Formatting Guidelines page.
- In order for the Techrangers to understand the structure of your documents and how you would like them to appear in your course, all documents submitted must be properly formatted following the Document Formatting Guidelines provided above.
- Please do not submit an HTML document or web page. Submitting Word documents will facilitate the process of converting course materials to HTML pages that meet CDL standards.
- Requests to have your materials coded and uploaded may take 7- 10 business days to complete. Please plan ahead since it may take longer to complete your quiz request during peak times (e.g. beginning of the semester).
- Please keep a copy of all documents you submit to CDL for your personal records.