Top 3 ways to improve Word document accessibility


3. Build Structure into your documents by using the Style Editor

How to Add Styles to Headings

  1. Highlight the word(s) or heading to which you would like to add a style.
  2. In the Home tab, look in the Styles section. Here, you can select the style you would like to apply to the highlighted text.
  3. When you choose a style, the highlighted text will appear to your left in a Navigation pane. 

2. Identify Elements by adding Alt Text

Alternative text (Alt Text) is text that you can add to describe images to be read by a screenreader. You can add Alt Text to charts, pictures, shapes, and tables.

How to Add Alternative Text to an Image

  1. Right click on the image or object to which you would like to add Alt text.
  2. Select Format Picture. A Format Picture window should appear on the right side of your word document.
  3. Select the Layout and Properties  icon.
  4. Select Alt Text. Under Alt Text enter an explanation of the picture or object in the Description box.
  5. Optional. You may enter a title for the image if you are providing the user with a long explanation. By providing a title, a user can determine whether they would like to read the explanation.

1. Use the Accessibility Checker

  1. At the top left-hand corner, click on File.
  2. On the following screen, select Info.
  3. Towards the right of the menu, select Check for Issues.
  4. In the drop-down menu, select Check Accessibility.
  5. On the right side of the document, an Accessibility Checker pane will appear. Under Inspection results, you will see parts of your document that may not be accessible. If the document is accessible, no issues will be found.

More Information on Word Documents:

For more in-depth information on making Word documents accessible, visit the IT Accessibility page on Accessible Word Documents.

Next Faculty Training Topic: Accessible PowerPoints

Resource Category
Creating Accessible Documents
Faculty Training on Accessibility
New Brunswick
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