Making Accessible Documents with MS Office

Accessibility Checker

The Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) can find common accessibility issues. While the automated checker is helpful, a manual review will still be required in order to resolve all issues.

In MS Office 365, you can access the Accessibility Checker with the following instructions:

  1. Click on the "Review" tab
  2. Click "Check Accessibility"

After the Accessibility Checker has run, a report will display any errors that were discovered. You can go over each issue to make the necessary changes. For example, all images missing alternative text will be flagged, and you will be able to add the image description.

Section Headings

Headings must be used for documents because they allow screen readers to easily navigate to the different sections of the document. In the default view ("Home" tab), you can set the appropriate heading using the Styles section.

When using styles, be sure to do the following:

  • Set the title of the document as Heading 1
  • Use Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. to create sections/subsections within the document. When creating subsections, you cannot skip a heading style.
    For example, if you used Heading 2, you must use Heading 3 for the subsection, or you can use Heading 2 to create another section. You cannot skip from Heading 2 to Heading 4.

Table Headers

You are able to designate the first row of a table as table headers in MS Office. When you have a table on the page, you can set the header row with the following instructions:

  1. Click in the table
  2. Click on the "Design" tab in the Button Ribbon at the top
  3. Click on "Header Row"