Tips to Make Your Text Easier to Read

The guidelines for print (documents and email) are:

  • 12 point fonts or larger
  • The font should be one of the following four: Verdana, Arial or Tahoma.  At this time Verdana is the best choice.  These fonts are the easiest to read.  They have no serifs or tails.  Most of our computers default to Times New Roman and that is one of the most difficult to read.  People will tell you they prefer Times New Roman but their reading efficiency doesn’t support their claim.
  • Bold is more visible than standard text
  • Avoid italics, if possible.  Better choices are: Underscoring, “enclosing in quotation marks,” or bolding.

The guidelines for power point or web pages are similar:

  • The fonts Verdana, Arial and Tahoma are preferred.  Avoid text with serifs.  At this time Verdana is the best choice.
  • Power point headings should be 32, subheadings should be 30 and text should be 28 or larger
  • Web page headings should be 22, subheadings should be 20 and text should be 18 or larger
  • Bold is more visible than standard text
  • Avoid italics, if possible.  Better choices are: Underscoring, “enclosing in quotation marks,” or bolding.

Color and designs:

  • Background designs should be omitted or be very simple.  Often people can’t read the text because of the background designs.
  • Email is easiest to read if it is black on white.
  • On power points or the web text and background should be of high contrast.  For example, if the text is light the background should be dark or if the text is dark the background should be light.  If you want to use color use contrasting colors such as colors on opposite sides of the color wheel.  Yellow on blue or blue on yellow are good choices. The best contrast overall is black on white or white on black.
  • Avoid red and green because of red/green colorblindness which is the most common type of colorblindness.  People who have this type see in shades of gray.
  • Gray should be avoided.  It is often used in tables and sometimes the text in the gray rows cannot be read.

View a PDF version of this document by clicking here.

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