Plain language tools

The following tools will help you to write and edit webpages and other documents in Plain Language.

  • Hemingway App
    • Copy and paste your text into the Hemingway App to highlight uses of the passive voice, long and complex sentences, common wordy phrases, and other opportunities for simplification
    • Note that there is a downloadable version available for sensitive documents
  • Microsoft Word - add Readability statistics to your spell checker
    • Follow the instructions in the link to make Word display readability statistics including the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of your document
  • - U.S. government plain language resources
  • Plain Language Checklist (PDF, 42.5KB)
    • A checklist to ensure that your webpage meets key accessibility, plain language, and style guidelines

Additional resources


The following articles discuss some of the research-based evidence supporting the benefits of plain language.


The following videos help to explain the importance of plain language.

Video Summary: TEDx talk by Deborah Bosley, who believes that people have a right to understand information that affects their lives

Duration: 19 minutes

Demand to Understand: How Plain Language Makes Life Simpler

Video Summary: TEDx talk by Sandra Fisher-Martins about the importance of Plain Language

Duration: 15 minutes

Notes: This video is in Portuguese with English subtitles

The Right to Understand

Video Summary: Vancouver Design & Content Conference talk by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. Discusses the concept of "stress cases" and highlights the importance of considering our whole audience when creating content.

Duration: 45 minutes

Notes: Full transcript available

Warning: This presentation mentions sexual assault.

View the presentation


Related government programs

Plain Language supports the following B.C. government goals and values:

  • Where Ideas Work
    • Plain language training builds internal capacity and improves competitiveness
    • Using Plain Language enhances service to citizens
  • Accessibility
    • Plain Language is a part of building inclusive and accessible services and workplace
  • BC Public Service Corporate Values:
    • Teamwork  
    • Accountability
    • Service
    • Integrity