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Word Accessibility

The focus of these documents is to help you create documents that are accessible to individuals with a visual impairment and that require the use of an assistive technology, such as a screen reader. In addition, you should think about other characteristics your audience members may have and design documents that meet those needs.

Accessibility Tips for Word Documents

  1. Use built in Styles and Formatting to mark up headers and lists in documents. This provides structure to content visually and when it is read aloud by a screen reader like JAWS.
  2. Provide alternative text descriptions for images which include: descriptive, decorative and/or charts. Consider purpose, significance and context of image for Alternative text description.
  3. Provide descriptive labels for hyperlinks (e.g. use Sac State Home Page instead of
  4. Keep tables simple; screen readers read tables from left to right not in the way you arrange your data in the table.
  5. Make documents available in other formats (PDF or HTML) as needed.

Additional Resources for Word Documents

PDF Accessibility

Accessible PDF files can be read intelligently by screen reader software — software used by the visually impaired to read material on the screen out loud.

Accessibility Tips for PDF Documents

  1. Before you create your PDF, start with an accessible document (e.g. Word – add alternate text to images and use styles; PowerPoint – create in Outline mode).
  2. Use the Acrobat “Create PDF” button (appears in  the menu bar) to create your PDF file
  3. Existing PDF files (or PDF files not created using the Acrobat icon) use Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional Accessibility checker to check for and/or fix accessibility problems. Exceptions: Scanned documents or fillable PDF forms, use Acrobat to make PDF accessible.

Additional Resources for PDF Documents

Last updated: July 8, 2014