How Do I Create Accessible Documents?
An accessible document is one that can be used by anyone, including someone who uses assistive technology such as screen readers or screen magnifiers. Accessibility is not limited to documents on your computer. If you plan to make materials available online, consider posting the content in multiple formats, such as HTML, Word or plain text, or PDF, as these tend to be more accessible. Note that scanned PDF documents may not work well with screen readers.
Best Practices for Creating Accessible Word Documents
- Use the included heading formats, such as Heading 1 or Heading 2, to denote the various parts of your document. This allows people using screen readers to more easily navigate the sections of your document. Learn more about how to use headings.
- Use other formatting features, such as the included bullet styles, for making lists.
- Include alternative text (alt text or ALT TEXT) over graphics and images. This allows screen readers to read what the image is. How to use alternative text.
- Use the ScreenTip feature to include additional information about items in a document, such as Web links.
- Create simple tables so that they will be recognized by assistive technologies.
- Use color sparingly and only if you cannot indicate meaning another way, such as by using bold type or stylesheets.
Learn More about Creating Accessible Documents
- Microsoft 2010 Accessibility Checker: Use with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- U.S. Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklists: Find checklists for PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML, and multimedia files.
- Create Accessible Word Documents: From WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
- Cheatsheets for creating accessible content: From The National Center on Disability and Access to Education
- World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design: From the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington
Learn More about Universal Design
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