Information Services


Advice and tips on how to make your emails accessible.

HTML or plain text?

To make emails accessible they should be in plain text or Rich Text format, not HTML.

Plain text or Rich Text works best with assistive technology such as screen readers. It also allows the user to decide how they want the text to be displayed (font, style, contrast and so on).

If an email is in HTML format then the procedures for creating accessible web pages should be followed, or an alternative plain text version should be offered.


All attachments, in formats such as Word and PDFs, should also be accessible.


When using formatting in emails; use bold instead of italics or underlining.

Don’t use colour alone to make a point e.g. "priority items in red".

Arial is a good choice of font, as it is more accessible than Times New Roman and other serif fonts.

Use at least 12 point - 14 point .

Plain English

In order to make your email as accessible as possible use clear English and avoid the use of jargon. All abbreviations should be written in full when used for the first time in each email.


It is good practice to list a contact address and phone number as well as return email address. This enables users to contact you using their preferred method, or to tell you that your email is not accessible.

Always state clearly who the email is from.

Further guidance

The Scottish Accessible Information Forum has a useful checklist for making email accessible;

Making email accessible checklist

Request an alternative format

To request this document in an alternative format, such as large print or on coloured paper, please contact Viki Galt, the Disability Information Officer.

Viki Galt

Disability Information Officer

  • Information Services

Contact details



Argyle House
Floor F West
3 Lady Lawson Street

Post Code

BSL users can contact me via Contact Scotland BSL, the on-line British Sign Language interpreting service. Find out more on the Contact Scotland BSL website.