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Creating Accessible (Microsoft) Word Documents

The most basic accessibility tool for creating word documents is a good heading structure. Headings organize word documents into an "outline" style, making the entire document easy to navigate with a screen reader.

One consideration is that proper headings are not just making the font larger, bold, etc. Microsoft Word makes it quite easy to select the proper headings.


For a video on heading styles in Microsoft word, check out this video from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on Microsoft Office 2012 Accessibility Tutorial

Microsoft Word 2000-2003

(if you have this version, we recommend upgrading to the 2010 version, especially if you are concerned about accessibility)

The drop-down styles list allows you create proper headings. Simply select the styles drop down menu to choose your true heading structure.

Microsoft 2000-2003 headings list

Microsoft Word 2007-2010

This version of word makes it really easy to adhere to accessibility standards. In the "Home" Menu, on the right hand end there is the "Style" area, where you can simply select which heading structure you would like to use. Visually seeing the heading options makes it easy to make a mental plan.

Microsoft Office 2010 Style Bar

Microsoft Word MAC

Word Styles are available on the MAC and are similar looking to the Office 2003 version for PC. They can be found in the Formatting Palette, under Fonts, as the first option "Style"

Microsoft MAC Style options

There are many benefits to starting an accessible piece of material in Microsoft Word because it can easily be exported to a PDF (which is then in turn an accessible PDF) as well as and HTML page. It is harder to create accessible materials if not using Microsoft Word as the foundation.

Last modified March 01 2012 10:46 AM

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