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Accessible PracticesBest PracticesLarge Print
Symbol for Large Print.

Converting documents into large-print copies (18-point type size) requires more than choosing "enlarge" on the photocopier. If you have the technology to create print materials and you follow the instructions below, you can succeed in making your print materials accessible to people with some usable sight. You may also choose to hire a transcription service provider to convert these documents for you, so this page concludes with links that list transcription service vendors.


How to Make Large-Print Documents

Follow the suggestions below to convert print materials to large print. Bear in mind that conversion will probably triple the length of a document.

  1. Font is 18 point Arial with single spacing
  2. Text is left-justified and in upper and lower case
  3. Use of italics, bold, and underlining is kept to a minimum
  4. Hyphenation at the ends of lines is kept to a minimum
  5. Paper is non-glossy and heavy to prevent show-through
  6. Tables are carefully constructed to allow tracking from one column to the next
  7. Use of parentheses ( ) is minimized
  8. Text is not crowded onto the page, and the number of pages is kept to a minimum

Two documents were especially helpful in developing the above suggestions, as was feedback from people with low vision who read large print. The documents are "Options for Producing Documents in Accessible Formats," a leaflet written by the American Foundation for the Blind, and The Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design.

Where to Find Transcription Service Vendors

Look for transcribers of large-print materials in the links below.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
The Library of Congress produced a directory of transcription service vendors.

National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Included in NFB's extensive list of U.S. vendors that transcribe documents and signs are some that record print materials on audiocassette.

What Vendors Will Need to Convert Your Materials to Large Print

You should provide vendors with printed versions of your documents to illustrate layout and format. Note that the cost may be less if you provide documents in an electronic format.

Links Related to Large Print

Removing Barriers: Tips and Strategies to Promote Accessible Communication (HTML version) (publications)
Removing Barriers is a publication of the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health (NCODH). It contains information on TTYs, etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities, web page design, audiovisual presentations, and print materials. This document includes a detailed section on producing materials in large print. Hard copies can be ordered for a nominal fee from NCODH by calling 919/966-0868 or 919/715-2505.

Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design. Smithsonian Accessibility Program. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.
These guidelines focus mostly on elements of exhibition design, providing specific measurements and suggested solutions to common design problems. In the appendix of this document, there is a set of guidelines for making accessible print materials, including large print materials. To receive a free copy (also available in large print, audiocassette, or Braille), write to the Smithsonian Accessibility Program 202/786-2942; TTY 202/786-2414; Fax 202/786-2210.


This web site is not intended to offer legal, architectural, engineering, or similar professional advice. Refer specific questions to an attorney or an ADA authority.

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