Checklist for MS Word Documents

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Checklist compiled from information found in the Microsoft accessibility pages, the 508 checklist provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Best Practices and Guidelines for Large Print Documents, authored by the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, and the American Printing House for the Blind website.

Introduction

One of the most important principles in accessibility is that you can do many format tasks in Word and other document types so that the layout features are only available by visual appearance, or you can do the task so that the underlying code in the document also includes those layout instructions. Both, screen readers, as well as magnification software, rely on the underlying code to make sense of documents.

Download Accessible MS Word Checklist

Document Basics

 I used a Readable sans serif Typeface/Font of a minimum of 12 point

 I created the required color contrast and adequate spacing

 I saved as a Word Document (.docx) with a descriptive filename

Document Structure

 I used built-in styles to create headings, and placed them in logical order

 I used built-in tools to create lists, and used large solid dark bullets

 I used built-in tools to create columns to organize content

 I used built-in tools to organize content in layout tables

 I used built-in tools to create data tables

Images, color and more

 I used alt text to create accessible images and other objects

 I added text to ensure that color (and other sensory characteristics) were not the only way to convey meaning

 I created accessible embedded files

 I excluded Flashing objects from the document

Special considerations for specific text

 I added meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips.

 I created accessible text boxes

 I duplicated vital information in headers, footers, and watermarks

 I identified distinct languages

Fillable forms

 I used Legacy Form tools to create accessible fillable form fields

 When the document included additional text, I created sections, and protected only those sections containing form fields

Special considerations for large print documents

 I used a sans serif font with a minimum of 18 point

 I used Line spacing of at least 1.5, and double spacing between paragraphs

 I made sure the titles and headings are larger than the text, upper and lower case, and aligned to the left

 I created easy to locate page numbers

 I isolated graphs, charts and pictures