Accessible Documents – Run Accessibility Checkers

Standardize Documents Review

We’ve already discussed the first three of four things you can do in Word 2013 that take very little time and may 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.

Today, we’ll cover the final element:

  1. 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.

Run accessibility checkers - highlighted with image of a colorful Chinese Checkers board

Accessibility Checker

Office 2013 offers a built in Accessibility Checker. Using this automated checker won’t make your document perfectly accessible, but it’s a great tool.

Note: In order to use the Accessibility Checker, your document needs to be saved as .docx – uncheck compatibility. (If you have an older .docx created with 2010, you may need to update it to the 2013 format.)

Go to File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility:

Screenshot of Word 2013 Info area with Check for Issues - Check Accessibility option highlightedThis allows you to access the Accessibility Checker pane. This pane provides you with Errors, Warnings, Why Fix and How to Fix. The How to Fix area usually provides step-by-step directions to assist you in correcting errors. (Not all issues can be checked this way, but it will catch a majority.)

Screenshot of Word 2013 Info area with Check for Issues - Check Accessibility option highlightedLet me know if these tips have been helpful in understanding accessible documents and/or if they have been useful in your everyday work with Word documents!

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