Microsoft Word Accessibility Guide
- Open your word document.
- Click File.
- By "Inspect Document" section click, "Check for Issues".
4. Select "Check Accessibility".
This will bring up the Accessibility Check on the right hand side of your document. This lists the accessibility problems Word has found with your document.
*Note some issues are false positive. For example, the "Repeated Blank Characters" are usually just extra spaces that are not shown on the document. These issues might need to be manually handled as they may be correct as displayed.
Below we will go through the common issues found in Word Documents and how to resolve them.
Key Items to Make Accessible
Pictures - Alt Text
All images require an alternative text or alt text to be accessible. This allows for screen readers to describe what the image being displayed is.
*Note: Be as descriptive as possible and there is no need for the use of the words, "image" or "picture" in the title or description.
- Right click on your image.
- Select Format Picture (The format picture box will display on the right).
- Select Layout & Properties (The third icon under "Format Picture").
- Select Alt Text (This is the menu were you give your image a title and description.
Hyperlinks are one of the most used elements in our documents. When creating a link the user should know that:
- The link must have a descriptive text to display.
- Instead of a Full URL (https://uirrwww.webtest.iu.edu/resources/ir-data-guides/accessibility-guide/accessibility-word/index.html).
- Use descriptive text to describe where the link goes (UIRR Word Accessibility Guide).
- *Note: avoid using phrases such as "Click here".
To add descriptive text to the link:
- Select the part of text that is or will be your link.
- Right Click and Select Hyperlink (This will bring up the Insert HyperLink window).
- Type in your description next to "Text to display".
- Type in your URL next to "Address".
- Click "Ok".
A document's page structure should be created in a way where a screen reader can identify what are titles, headings, and content. Using incorrect structure could result in misleading what information pertains to a certain section of the document.
Word has built in "Styles" that allows the user to create their titles, headings, and content.
*Note Headings should be used in a cascade format. Example:
Heading 1 - Main subject
Heading 2 - First Subsection of the Main Subject
Normal - Content of first subsection
Heading 2 - Second Subsection of the Main Subject
Normal - Content of second subsection
To create headings:
- Click the home Tab.
- View the "Styles Tool Pane".
- Highlight the text you wish to be your heading.
- Select the correct heading level (1,2,3...).
These same steps apply for your content and titles as well, just ensure you select the corresponding style.