Apply the following accessibility principles to make Word documents more accessible and improve the usability for all users.
Give Descriptive File Name
Set Default Language
- Set language preferences in Office. Mac mirrors the system’s settings.
Make It Easy to Understand
- Write content as clearly and simply as possible.
- Use plain language.
- Use heading styles to show content organization.
- Use properly formatted lists.
Create Accessible Links
- Provide link text that describes where the link goes and gives meaning out of context.
- Avoid phrases like “click here,” “learn more” and “read more”.
- Underline links for quick identification.
- Do not underline non-link text
- Steps to add link text
Write effective link text
Use Color Appropriately
- Ensure the contrast ratio between text color and the background color is at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text.
- Avoid gold on white: Accessible Text & Color.
- Learn more about WCAG Success Criterion 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum) AA.
- Go to Check Accessibility for a list of color checkers.
- Do not use color as the only method to convey meaning.
- Include an additional descriptive component such as text, patterns or shapes.
- Learn how to use color
Add Alternative Text
- Provide alternative (alt) text to non-text objects that convey meaning.
- Keep the alt text short and concise (about 125 characters).
- If marking visuals as decorative is not an option, add “decorative” as the alt text.
- Avoid images with text when possible. If necessary, add alt text.
Write effective alternative text
- Everything you need to know to write effective alt text
- How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the visually impaired
- Making Images Accessible
- Video: Improve accessibility with alt text
Create Accessible Tables
- Use a simple table structure. Avoid merging or splitting cells and using nested tables when possible.
- Define header row for data tables.
- Do not use tables for page layout.
- Video: Create accessible tables in Word
- Make your Word documents accessible
- WebAIM: Creating Accessible Documents
- Section 508: Create Accessible Documents
- Make your Google document more accessible
- Give a descriptive title.
- Use accessible templates for Office.
- Position images with content as “In Line with Text.”
- Do not use multiple spaces, lines and tabs.
When an application (or authoring tool) allows for user-generated content, content authors must create digital information accessible to people with disabilities. As you design, develop, or create digital content, there are a few ways to check accessibility.
- Go to Check Accessibility to get started.