Accessibility Insights

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Links must be visually distinguished from surrounding text through styling or contrast.

Why it matters

Links embedded in text are most visible when they have distinct styling or sufficient contrast with the surrounding text.

  • Styling can make an embedded link discernable if it changes the shape of the text, for example by adding an underline or border or switching to a different font.
  • Contrast can make an embedded link discernable if the link text is sufficiently darker or lighter than surrounding text.

An embedded link with no styling and insufficient contrast can be difficult to discern, especially for people with low vision or limited color vision.

How to fix

Implement one or both of the following:


  • Adjust the color of the link text and/or the surrounding text to provide a contrast ratio of at least 3:1.


  • Provide a distinct style for the link text, such as an underline, a border, or a different font.




In this page, paragraph text is styled to be black, and links are styled to be blue. Links embedded in paragraphs have an inadequate contrast ratio of 2.4:1 with the surrounding text. Moreover, the links' default underline has been removed by setting the text-decoration attribute to none. Because of these styling choices, some people will have difficulty seeing the embedded links.

p {color: #000000}
a:link {text-decoration: none; color: #0000FF}



In this page, all embedded links are contained in <p> elements. The styling specifies that links in paragraphs will have an underline. Links in other elements, such as tables or lists, are not underlined. Everyone will find it easier to see the embedded links.

p {color: #000000}
p a:link {text-decoration: underline; color: #0000FF}
a:link {text-decoration: none; color: #0000FF}

About this rule

Instances need review if ALL of the following are true:

  • Link has no distinct style
  • Link's contrast ratio with surrounding tet is less than 3:1

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