Accessible Word Document Checklist

Accessible word documents are easier to edit and navigate and thus ensures their reach to a wide range of users. Planning and structuring your document correctly from the start, will maximize the accessibility of your document and also helps retaining the accessibility features while being converted into different alternate formats such as PDF.

You may find it helpful to check out this Accessible Word Document checklist before you create your file:

Headings

  • Use heading styles to structure major headings within the document
  • Ensure nesting of headings logically. Heading 1 as top level, Heading 2 as sub-heading to Heading 1, Heading 3 as sub heading to Heading 2 and so on
  • Use short and clear headings

Heading Levels in Word Document in styles group

Images, Graphs and Pictures

  • Provide alternative description for all images, graphs, smart arts, pictures and charts in the document
  • Avoid using image watermarks. If it can’t be avoided, include information elsewhere in document, e.g., document or section title
  • Avoid including phrases like “image of…,” “table of…,” or “link to…” while writing alternative text for images
  • Select ‘Wrap Text’ and choose ‘In Line With Text’ or ‘Top and Bottom’ for all images
  • Include captions when required

Screenshot of providing alt text to an image in a word document

Tables

  • Use table tools to create table and not the ‘Draw Table’ option
  • Keep the table structure simple. For complex tables try to split into simpler ones
  • Have designated header row and repeat header rows
  • Do not use blank cells
  • Include captions for table where appropriate

Header Row option checked in table style options

Content & Layout

  • Use font size and type that is readable
  • Ensure meaningful hyperlink text than URL’s
  • Provide Alternative text or description for tables
  • Avoid using floating text boxes
  • Avoid using any extra space, tabs or paragraphs
  • Provide table of contents for long documents
  • Appropriate use of colours

Color Contrast Checker

Multimedia

  • Include transcript or captions for audio/video files
  • Transcripts are the minimum requirement for audio or video files and ensure every audio and video file in your document have transcript

Document Metadata

  • Enter document title into the Document Properties
  • Ensure language properties has been set
  • Identify changes if any in the language of the content in the document

Accessibility Checker

  • Run accessibility checker on finished document and repair identified errors, warnings and tips

Accessibility Checker pane

If you need additional support to make your word documents accessible, do sign up and try our cloud based service at 247 Accessible Documents for free.

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