Documents lightning guide
For government lightning guide!
If you upload a PDF document, you must also publish an accessible HTML, Word or Rich Text Format alternative.
Security: strip metadata
When publishing documents on For government, remove:
- hidden data and collaboration data (e.g. tracked changes and comments)
- document history (e.g. author name)
- unnecessary watermarks (e.g. draft)
- blank pages and inside covers
- decorative images and repeated headers and footers.
Word: File > Info > Inspect document (note that your scan should find ‘document properties’—you will have inserted these when populating metadata).
Adobe Acrobat Pro: Tools > Protection > Hidden information > Sanitise document
SEO: populate metadata
The minimum metadata requirements for non-HTML documents are:
- Title: the full title of your document (not the filename).
- Subject: a concise free-text description of the content and/or purpose of the document.
- Author: 'Queensland Government' at a minimum.
- Keywords: words/phrases that add value or are alternative terms. Separate with commas.
Look for document properties in your program (e.g. in Word: File > Info > Properties).
Apply styles (Word) and tags (PDF) to give hierarchical context to headings and text.
- Meaningful column headings—set first row as ‘header row’.
- Simple table layout—no tables within tables, or split rows/columns.
- Use only for tabular data, not for page layout—split complex tables into smaller simple tables.
Provide text alternatives (alt text) for images that convey information, including graphs or charts (not decorative images). For complex graphics and charts, write a text equivalent below the image, and use 'Text equivalent follows' as the alt text.
Make header images a watermark and ensure important information is not contained in the footer (not readable by assistive technologies).
Try out this scan in Word: File > Info > Check accessibility.
QGov online web writing and style guide, p24–30, 34–35.
CUE standard: Module 6—Non-HTML documents: