Improving the Accessibility of Your Course

Various state and federal laws have requirements aimed at making education accessible to as many people as possible. For instance, making sure that classrooms are wheelchair accessible would be an effort to comply with these laws and policies. Online classes need to be accessible as well. Here are some best practices to use in Canvas. If you have additional suggestions, please contact


  • Keep the design simple, clean, and uncluttered.
  • Use alternate text tags for images. For example, you can add alternate text when you embed an image from the web or from Flickr creative commons. If you have an image in your course file you want to use, you can add an alt tag by switching to HTML view. Doing this will mean that people who use a screen reader to read aloud the contents of a web page will hear an auditory description of the image.
  • Rather than pasting in raw URLs, link to words that describe the link destination. Again, this will help people using a screen reader understand where the link will take them.
  • Use other formatting besides color (bold words, different size font) to distinguish between important items in your course. Changing the font size rather than using different colors will benefit those people who cannot differentiate colors.
  • Learn to use CTRL+ and CTRL- or CMD+ and CMD- to resize the text in the course for the visually impaired.


Screen Reader Programs

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
  • PC: JAWS (latest version for Internet Explorer 10 & 11)
  • PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome


Tips & Tricks

By pressing the comma key, a pop-up window with keyboard shortcuts will appear for keyboard navigation on the following pages in Canvas:

Lesson Feedback (Optional) (0)

Please let us know if any information in this lesson appears to be incorrect in terms of Canvas functionality only (please do not submit feature requests here). This is not a help site, and submitted comments cannot be answered. If your Canvas course/account is having trouble completing any of the tasks outlined in this lesson, please contact Canvas Support by submitting a HELP TICKET via the Help Link within Canvas or emailing Thank you.

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