Make Microsoft Outlook email messages accessible to people with disabilities

  • 2 min read
  • Dec 09, 2016


People who are differently abled or visually impaired often find it difficult to read and access emails. Microsoft believes, that this problem can be overcome. Individuals that are visually challenged can understand your emails more easily if you create them with accessibility in mind. Microsoft Outlook includes Accessibility features that make email messages readily accessible to visually impaired & differently abled individuals.

Microsoft Outlook Accessibility features


Make Microsoft Outlook emails accessible to differently abled people

Include alternative text with all visuals and tables

Alt text is of immense help to assistive screen readers or browsers that have images disabled. By adding an alt text to an image, you can convey a meaning to a person who for some reason cannot view it. Microsoft Outlook allows you to create alternative text (alt text or Alt Text) for shapes, pictures, charts, tables or other objects in your Office document.

Add text to the images

Right-click an image, select Format Picture and chose ‘Layout & Properties’ from the list of options displayed.

Next, select Alt Text (Text, SmartArt graphics and more)

Make Microsoft Outlook email messages accessible to differently abled people

When done, give the layout a suitable title and add a small description.

Microsoft Outlook Accessibility features

By doing a few things, you can make hyperlinks, text, and tables accessible.


Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

To do so, select the text to which you want to add the hyperlink, and then right-click it.

Next, select Hyperlink option. The text you selected a few seconds ago will instantly display in the Text to display box. This is the hyperlink text.

If required, you can change the hyperlink text.

When done, go to the Address box and enter the destination URL.

After that, select the ScreenTip button and, in the ScreenTip text box, type a Screen Tip.


Use accessible font format

Select your text and chose the Format Text tab.

Then, under the Font group, which allows you to configure different options (font type, size, style, and color), select the appropriate option.

Use accessible font color

To ensure that text is visible in High Contrast mode, use the Automatic setting for font colors. For this, select your text, chose Message and then Font Color.

Select Automatic.


Use bulleted list styles

You can create bulleted lists by placing the cursor anywhere in your email and then choosing ‘Format Text’ tab.

Next, in the Paragraph group, select the Bullets button and type each bullet item in the bulleted list.

Adjust space between sentences and paragraphs

Adjust the white space between sentences and paragraphs by selecting your text and again choosing ‘Format Text’ tab.

Then, in the Paragraph group, in the lower-right corner of the group, select the Dialog box launcher.

When the Paragraph dialog box appears, it will display the Indents and Spacing tab.

Under Spacing, select the spacing options you deem fit.

For configuring other options and to know why to configure this options, visit


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