Join David Rivers for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Accessibility Checker, part of Creating Accessible Microsoft Office Documents.
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- When it comes to creating accessible documents here in Microsoft Word, there is a really nice helper called the Accessibility Checker that's going to find certain issues, bringing up errors, warnings, and tips for things you might want to change in your document to make it more accessible. Now, it's not gonna find everything so we still have to rely on the knowledge that we have so far about what makes a document accessible, but let's check it out here with this document called No Obstacles Bio. You'll find it in the Chapter 02 folder of your Exercise Files.
You can see it is a multi-page document. We're on page one of four here. As we scroll down, there are certain things right off the bat. There's an image. I wonder if it has alt text attached to it. The font that's being used for the body is a serif font, maybe Times New Roman. Yes, if we click in there and look up here in the ribbon it is Times New Roman. That's okay for some people, but to make it easier to read we might want to consider a standard sans serif font, but as we scroll down there's a link. That might need some fixing. Looks like there's a watermark in the background too.
Little things that we'll notice here that might be an issue when it comes to accessibility and screen readers, for example. Here on the second page we have a list. Perhaps that should be numbered or bulleted. As we scroll a little further down, there's another graphic, and hopefully it has alt text. And there is a way to find out manaully, but with the Accessibility Checker, it's going to find some of these issues. Look at this table. I don't like the contrast here in this top row, and then a little further down, we have another link, a number of different links, and I don't like where the page breaks.
So, we have some fixing up to do for sure. Let's run the Accessibility Checker first. We go to the File tab, click there. With Info selected at the very top in the left hand column, we go to Check for Issues. Give that a click. The second option is the Accessibility Checker. Let's give it a click. That opens up over here on the right hand side, and you'll see different categories. We have Errors at the top. Errors are things that really must be changed. As you can see, we're missing alt text for a couple of pictures and a table.
There's no header row specified for the table. These are things we have to fix up or our document will not be accessible. Then we get into Warnings, and these should be fixed up, but it's not one hundred percent necessary to be accessible. So merged or split cells can be an issue, can be confusing for people, especially with screen readers. Now, objects that aren't in line with text, might be out of order. You can see some blank characters as well, and then we get into the Tips category, and these are things that you might want to fix up.
They're not a huge issue for accessibility in screen readers, but in this case, you can see there is an image water mark that might not be picked up by a screen reader. So if you want a fully accessible document, you'll pay attention to everything you see here, and the nice thing about the Accessibility Checker is if you want to fix something up, you can go right to it by clicking it on the list. Let's say Picture 1, for example, we select it here on the right, and it appears selected in our document right there in the header. So we go about adding alt text.
We'll be doing that shortly as we move through this chapter. Same thing for Picture 6. No Header Row Specified. If we click the Table, you can see it takes us right to the header row. Well, that should be a header row, but according to this error, it's not a header row. We need to fix that up. Now we're here, we could be fixing it up on the fly, and moving down the list, going down to the merged or split cells. There's some merged cells there that should be fixed up. Unclear Hyper Text, you can see takes us right to the link itself. So we could right-click and start editing it, for example, but we're going to do this as we move through the various movies in this chapter.
The Accessibility Checker is doing a great job at finding things for us. We can leave it open as we move through the remaining movies in this chapter. Also, you'll notice down below, when you select something, for example, the Unclear Hyperlink Text, you're gonna see why it should be fixed. You can see the description of the link destination is being used here, and we should have something that's a little more descriptive. It's not clear. And, you'll also get instructions on how to fix it. You can read more about making documents accessible.
It's just going to show you all of the things that the Accessibility Checker might find to make your documents more accessible. So I really like this, and I like to leave it open while I'm working on a document like this. That's what we're going to do. We'll keep it open. We'll continue working with No Obstacles Bio as we move into the next movie.
- Understanding document accessibility
- Best practices
- Using the Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Making text, images, and tables accessible in Word
- Using text-to-speech functionality
- Formatting cells
- Creating accessible objects, tables, and hyperlinks in Excel
- PowerPoint presentation guidelines for accessibility
- Adding alt text to media
- Considering object order for screen readers