Share Accessible Documents

Sharing course content in MS Word or PDF is common and can be simple and effective. As you design these documents, make sure you are taking accessibility into account.

Creating Accessible MS Word Documents

Be sure do the following:

  1. Use headings to structure the document.
  2. Add alternative text to images.
  3. Create links by using meaningful text descriptions.
  4. Avoid the use of SmartArt.
  5. Avoid adding text boxes.

Creating Accessible PDF Documents

PDFs can provide an accessible way to provide content. If not created correctly though, they can be totally inaccessible to people who use screen readers.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Start with an accessible source document. By following the previous suggestions for creating an accessible MS Word document, you are on your way to creating an accessible PDF.
  2. Save the MS Word document to PDF by choosing, Save as PDF rather than printing to PDF.
  3. Simple documents should convert pretty well from MS Word to PDF. More complex documents may need to be checked for accessibility and even possibly remediated.
  4. If you have a Professional version of Adobe Acrobat, you can run an accessibility check.
  5. You may also want to check with the disability resource office on your campus to see who might be able to assist with this.

If you are using PDFs that were created by someone else, check to make sure they are accessible:

  1. Can you highlight the text on the page? If not, it may be an image.
  2. Older PDFs created by scanning an article are often purely an image.
  3. Work with someone on your campus to determine the best approach to making these documents accessible.