Creating accessible documents ensures that people using assistive technologies can read these documents. While online, people may use screen readers or magnifiers to access documents and the guidelines in this document ensure that these technologies will work more effectively. Please follow the guidelines below to create documents that will be easily accessed by all.
For more directions on creating accessible documents you can go to the Blackboard Organization - Accessibility Workshops. If you have any difficulty finding or accessing this org please contact the Technology Training Coordinator at ext. 2740 or Design Help in the library.
The Accessibility Checker is a panel, on the right hand side of your screen, which shows errors that will make your document difficult to access with assistive technology. It will also show warnings and tips so you can make your documents more accessible.
The Check Accessibility button, which opens the Accessibility Checker panel, is located on the Review tab in Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2019.
It is also found on the File tab under Check for Issues in Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2019 as well as previous versions of Office.
If you would like this button to be more handy, you can put it on your Home tab using the directions in the Accessibility How To section. It is recommended to leave the Accessibility Checker open while creating documents so any errors can be fixed immediately.
To make your documents accessible you need to:
Visual content includes
Alt text helps people who cannot see the screen to understand what is important in images and other visuals.
Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.
The process for adding alt text to the other object is similar:
Screen readers do not easily read images with wrapped text. Be sure to format images Inline
If the picture is not where you would like it, you can move it around. As you move the picture you can see a dark vertical cursor that will show you where the picture is in relation to any text.
To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan your document.
People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page.
People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors. Be sure to
If your document has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.
Use the Color Contrast analyzer (below) to check for contrast issues.
To preserve tab order and to make it easier for screen readers to read your documents, use a logical heading order and the built-in formatting tools in Word.
Be sure to organize headings in the prescribed logical order. Use Heading 1, Heading 2, and then Heading 3, rather than Heading 3, Heading 1, and then Heading 2. And, organize the information in your documents into small chunks. Ideally, each heading would include only a few paragraphs.
Headings and styles can be modified by right-clicking on the style and choosing Modify
To increase or decrease white space between sentences or paragraphs, instead of repeatedly entering blank lines use the text spacing capabilities of Word.
Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more
Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.