MS Word: Accessibility Best Practices
Headings: Use Styles to Provide Logical Heading Structure
- Select the text that you want to make into a heading.
- From the Home tab, choose the appropriate heading level from the Styles
Lists: Use Ordered/Unordered Lists to Group Related Items
- Select the text you want to make into a list.
- From the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, select the Bullets or Numbering
Tables: Use Tables for Tabular Data and Provide Column Headers
- Place the cursor in the top row of your data table and click on the Design tab under Table Tools.
- In the Table Style Options group, select the Header Row check box.
- Under Table Tools, click the Layout
- In the Data group (Word 2016 – Table Design > Layout tab), click the Repeat Header Row
Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images
- Right click on the image, and select Format Picture, then Alt Text.
- Fill in the Description field (not the Title field).
Links: Use Meaningful Text for Links
- Type out text that clearly describes the link’s destination (e.g., “CITL Best Practices for Creating Accessible Word Documents”). Avoid text like “Click here” or “Visit.”
- Select the text, right click on it, and choose Hyperlink from the menu.
- In the Insert Hyperlink window, enter a URL address in the Address field.
- Click the OK button to save the link.
Document Properties: Identify the Title and Author
- In Windows, click File, then expand the pull down menu for Properties to select the Summary On a Mac, click File, then select Properties, and then select the Summary tab.
- From the Summary tab of the Properties dialog, add or change the Title and the Author.
Color: Use Sufficient Color Contrast
- Download the Paciello Group’s Color Contrast Analyzer from the following URL: https://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser/
- Open the Color Contrast Analyzer application.
- Click the Foreground eye dropper tool. Hover over and click your foreground color to select it.
- Click the Background eye dropper tool. Hover over and click your background color.
- If you are testing a 12-pixel or smaller font, you must get a Pass (AA). If your font is larger than 12 pixels, you must get a Pass (AA) in the Large Text field.
- AA standards pass is sufficient.
- Do not use color alone to convey information (e.g., items in red indicate a deficit).
See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist