Document Accessibility

Standardize Documents

When it comes to document accessibility, we sometimes refer to the importance of “standardizing” documents. There are four things you can do to that take very little time and may even save you some time in the long run!

  1. Use styles: In Word documents, replace bolds, italics, various sized fonts, and type decorations with appropriate styles and make use of headings. This provides structure and navigation and aids in creating an automatic table of contents.
  2. Reduce dependency on tables: Tables are difficult for those with visual issues. If a table must be used, choose the simplest table structure possible and use row and/or column headings.
  3. Provide meaningful alternative (alt) text for images and text for links: This is vital for those with visual impairments and also provides useful information for others.
  4. Run an Accessibility Checker: These are built in to Office 2013 & Adobe Acrobat XI. An accessibility checker won’t catch all errors or fix them for you, but it provides an overview and tips for remediation.

I’ll cover each of these in more depth throughout the semester, but today I’ll just provide you with a quick tip on Language in Word 2013.


The Language should be set to English by default, but you can change it if needed. This benefits everyone because the language is used for spelling and grammar checks.

Go to File > Options > Language > Choose English (unless your document needs to be in another language.)

Word 2013 screenshot of Word Options with Language option highlighted


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