A Checklist for a More Accessible Word Document
People use and interact with digital documents in different ways. Word documents, by nature, are pretty accessible but there are some things we, as document creators, can do to make the experience better and more accessible for everyone.
Fonts and Colors
- A limited number of font styles are used.
- Simple fonts are used (e.g., Verdana, Arial, or Times New Roman)
- There is adequate spacing between lines and characters (so that lines and letters are not smooshed).
- Good contrasting color is between text and background.
- Cues other than color alone are used to communicate information or signify important information (bold or an asterisk).
- Word's built-in heading styles are used rather than making headings bold or changing the text size.
- Headings are in order (Heading 1 = Title, Heading 2 = major section, Heading 3 = subsection of Heading 2)
- Built-in bulleted and numbered lists are used to organize information or list steps in order.
- Tables are inserted using the “insert/table” command and have a header row set.
- A document title is listed in the document’s properties.
- The document’s language or multiple languages are set.
- Click here, read more, click here to read more, or the full url are not used as link text.
- Descriptive link text is used and can stand alone and not rely on the context from the surrounding text.
- Link text gives people an idea of where they will go when they click on a link.
- How to edit or add a link in Word.
- Alternative text is provided for all images.
- Alternative text is succinct, accurate and an equivalent descriptions relating to the content or function of the image in the document.
- Alternative text does not repeat information existing on the page.
- There is no use of “image of, or photo of” in the alt text used to describe images.
- Images are in-line with text vs. wrapped with text.
- If text exists on an image it is also included on the page or in the alternative text.
- How to add alternative text to images.
Save Your Document as a PDF this Way
- To save a Word document as a PDF, use “File/Save as” instead of “File/Print” to retain the most accessible document features.
Do a Final Check With the Accessibility Checker
- As a final check run the “Accessibility Checker” (Review tab/Check Accessibility). The accessibility checker will scan your document and identify accessibility issues in the document.
- How to use the Accessibility Checker