Accessibility FAST

Accessible Headings
Quick Start Guide

Headings are essential for screen reader users to navigate long documents. Headings benefit all readers by providing context, organizing material, and emphasizing connections.

To get started with accessible headings:

Use a hierarchical structure

For example:

Heading level 1: Main topic or title.

Heading level 2: Primary sections.

Heading level 3: Subsections of heading level 2s.

Headings should describe the content below it.

Multiple subsequent heading levels can be nested under a higher level and any content can follow any heading level.

Do not skip a heading level.

Include style and code

Headings are not just larger, bolded text. Use visual style for headings to set them apart, but headings must also include coded meaning.

Use built-in tools to create accessible headings.


Use headings in Word

Use the Word Styles gallery to set headings.

Verify heading structure via View > Navigation.


Use Brightspace headings

Brightspace editor text format menu

Set headings using the styles menu in the Brightspace editor. Heading styles can be customized using the colour, font, and size tools in the Brightspace editor.

The Brightspace Accessibility Checker will flag out of order headings.

Moving forward…

Use headings to create an accessible and organized reading experience for all readers. Additionally, an accessible heading structure can help you create outlines, reorganize content, and generate a table of contents.

For more information on headings and document structure, move to the next page.


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Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning Copyright © 2023 by Briana Fraser and Luke McKnight is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.