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Preparing Documents for CDE Web Sites

The California Department of Education (CDE) has Web standards for all content posted on CDE Web sites.  One of the reasons for the standards is to ensure Web content meets state and federal laws with respect to making Web content accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

At times, the CDE receives documents from organizations (e.g., schools, school districts, county offices of education, foundations, private companies, etc.) that need to be posted on CDE Web sites. The CDE is able to post documents from organizations in a more efficient manner if the following guidelines are met:

  • Send documents to CDE in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or text-based (not scanned) Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file format instead of sending hardcopy or scanned image files.
  • If a scanned document is required to be posted on the Web site, submit a text-based document that includes the content of the scanned document (in addition to the scanned image/PDF).
  • Optimize PDF files for fast Web view, tag for accessibility, and ensure the correct reading order.
  • Do not send PDF/A (PDF Archive format) files to CDE unless the PDF/A is fully accessible.
  • Include a title at the top of the document that describes the content in the document.
  • Include the organization name in the document that is responsible for the content in the document.
  • Include a creation date, last modified date, revision date, or version number in the document.
  • Use a font (recommend Arial font, 12 point size, black color) that is large enough for most users to read. Smaller fonts can be used in Excel spreadsheets.
  • Avoid underlined text to avoid confusion with hyperlinks.
  • Avoid using text color or text formatting to convey information. For example, do not use a statement such as "The numbers in bold and red color indicate budget shortfalls."
  • Images (i.e., pictures, art, graphics, graphs, charts, logos, etc.) used to convey information should be described in a textual manner or the image should contain descriptive alternative text (stored in the image properties in the document).
  • Abbreviations and acronyms should be spelled out the first time they are used. For example, “The California Department of Education (CDE) has Web standards…”
  • Microsoft PowerPoint documents present accessibility issues. The CDE recommends the content of PowerPoint presentations be copied into Microsoft Word documents, and the Word documents be submitted instead of the PowerPoint version.
  • Create hyperlinks for Web site addresses. Hyperlinks for Web documents should begin with http://.
  • Save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents as 97-2003 type documents with the .doc, .xls, and .ppt file extensions. Do not save as .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx. Note that PowerPoint presentations are not fully accessible and always require a text equivalent alternative.
  • Each Web document (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, & PDF) needs to have the metadata sections completed. Complete the following sections: Title, Subject, and Author (optional.)
  • If you use a table, ensure it has only one row for the header information.

Here is a good example of a table with one row for a header. This type of table is very accessible for those using screen readers. CDE prefers this type of table:


School Year Started School Year Ended Number of Elementary Schools Number of Secondary Schools
2006 2010 5 3

Here is an example of a table with two header rows. Multiple header rows make navigation and comprehension difficult for those using screen readers. CDE tries to avoid using this type of table:

School Year Started & Ended Number by School Type
Started Ended Elementary Secondary
2006 2010 5 3
Questions:   Web Services Office | | 916-445-0774
Last Reviewed: Thursday, March 10, 2022
Related Content
  • Accessibility
    The Department is required by federal and state law to make information intended for the general public accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Web Standards
    For all Web products (Web pages, Web documents, Web sites, Web applications, or other Web services) developed by the CDE, by CDE personnel, or as a result of a contract with the CDE, these Web standards must be followed.
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