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Creating Accessible Documents

Making accessible documents is a simpler process when you keep accessibility practices in mind from the start. This guide provides a foundation for building accessible documents in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Adobe PDF.

General accessible practices

While application can vary between different platforms, there are some concepts that ensure accessibility for any kind of document creation. These are:

  • Content structure: breaking up your content into paragraphs, using headings and inbuilt styles to label and differentiate sections.
  • Language: using clear language and defining complicated or discipline-specific terms.
  • Alternative text: providing text descriptions for images.
  • Descriptive links: ensuring that hyperlinked text shows clearly where a link leads.
  • Colours: using high contrast colours and using text rather than colour to indicate difference or meaning.
  • Tables: only using tables to display data, and not for cosmetic or layout purposes.
  • Accessibility checkers: using inbuilt accessibility checkers where available, though not relying on them as the only way to check if a document is accessible.

These basic concepts are mentioned in each of guides listed below, but there are slight differences in process that should be noted in order to effectively implement these accessible practices.

Here’s how you can incorporate these practices for your document creation across Word, PowerPoint and PDF.