Anyone Can Create Accessible Documents with Microsoft Word*


It is easier than you think and only takes a couple steps.


For more information on any or all of the following steps go to WebAIM's resource:
http://webaim.org/techniques/word/#create

Use Headers
A good heading structure is probably the most important accessibility consideration in most Word documents. Headings will allow screen reader users to navigate through the page easily and will make the page more usable for everyone.
While in Microsoft Word simply use the styles under the Home tab to designate heading 1, heading 2 or heading 3.
headers.png

Try the Accessibility Checker
Did you know that in Microsoft Word 2010 and higher there is a built in accessibility checker? Go to File> Info > Check for Issues > Check accessibility.

Alt text and descriptions for images
If you insert an image into your document it is easy to add an alt tag. Simply right click on the image, go to Format Picture and then at the bottom you will find Alt text, where you can add a title and description of the image. Descriptions are especially useful for diagrams, charts, or graphs.
alttext.png

URL Links
Label your URL links especially when the URL itself is not informative.
Click on Insert> hyperlink (or if you already copied and pasted the link in your document, select it and then go to hyperlink from insert tab)
You can edit "text to display" (at top of the box).
For example. for this URL: http://www.sc.edu/cte/resources.php
Because the name is not very informative you could change to the text to display to appear like this: University of South Carolina Resources for Accessibility
Avoid links that say "Click here."

Got Tables?
If you are creating tables inside of Word, you need to tag your column headers and row headers. Here's how**...
  • If the table has only column headings, place the insertion point in any one cell within the row containing the headings. Then, open the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Type “ColumnTitle” and press ENTER. (You do not have to do this for every column title in the table. Bookmarking one column title will bookmark them all within that table.)
    tablecolumn.png
  • If the table has only row headings, place the insertion point in any cell within the column containing the headings. Then, open the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Type "RowTitle" and press ENTER. (You do not have to do this for every row title in the table. Bookmarking one row title will bookmark them all within that table.
  • If the table has both row and column headings, place the insertion point in a cell where the row and column headings meet. Then, open the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Type "Title" and press ENTER.
  • (For each additional occurrence of a table that uses a Column Title, Row Title or Title you will need to change the name of the Bookmarks by adding “_2”, “_3”, etc. So, the second occurrence of a table that uses a Column Title would be labeled, “ColumnTitle_2”. The fourth occurrence of a table that uses a Title would be labeled, “Title_4”.

From "7 Ways to Make your Class Accessible" University of South Carolina, CTE,
http://www.sc.edu/cte/resources.php

Planning on making a PDF out of your Word Document?**
Checking a box under options will carry over your accessibility efforts to the PDF.
  • Starting with a Word document, save that document as a PDF by going to File > Save As > choose “PDF”
  • From the Save As pop-up, once you choose “PDF”, you will need to click on “Options…”
    Make sure the box related to tags for accessibility is checked.


*Instructions may vary slightly with different versions of Word.