Creating a More Accessible World, One Word Doc at a Time

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Creating a More Accessible World, One Word Doc at a Time

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Microsoft has a feature that assesses a document’s accessibility to those living with a variety of disabilities. Learn more about this feature and what it can do for so many others.

Where can you find the accessibility checker? 

Microsoft’s accessibility checker can be used on: 

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Onenote

PowerPoint: 

  1. Select the “Review” tab. 
  2. Click on “Check Accessibility.” 
  3. From there, it will show you, in an expandable, menu what you can do to improve the accessibility of your presentation — whether it’s alt text or a font that you’re using. 

It will also show you how to course correct these issues by making recommendations that will remedy the issue with helpful tips and tricks. 


Word: 

  1. At the bottom left corner of a document where it shows you how many words you’re using, you should see an “accessibility” feature icon. 
  2. It will tell you what your score is and if there is anything that you should consider changing to make your document more accessible. 

OneNote: 

  1. Click on the “View” tab. 
  2. Toward the right of your screen, you should see “Check Accessibility.” 
  3. Follow any prompts, if there are any, and the recommendations will help to make your document accessible to a wider audience. 

Outlook: 


Even when you’re writing emails, you can make sure that they are accessible to people with disabilities and those who are viewing documents using screen readers. 

  1. While you’re composing your email, click on the “Review” tab. 
  2. Click on the three dots icon
  3. Under “Accessibility” you should see “Check Accessibility.”

Follow the recommended instructions, or, if you have an image that is in a document purely for decorative purposes, you can click the appropriate checkbox. 

Why is Microsoft's accessibility checker important?

Caregivers take care of a variety of individuals with different needs and abilities. The ability to access documents independently should not have to be a challenge in the technology-savvy time that we are living in. 


Knowledge is power; not having access to those conversations or forums, for one reason or another, can disempower individuals from making decisions over their own lives, their own care, and more. 


Individuals of all abilities are able to access the Internet, which means they require content that adapts to their needs. Some are viewing this article through a screen reader, which means that if you are using emojis, they are read out loud. If you use emojis in your documents or texts, make sure to include them one time, or as little as possible to reduce this repetition. 


Additionally, Instagram, for example, is a photo-sharing app. Those who are living with blindness still use this platform. They rely on alternate text (alt text) as a visual description of the image to understand what the image looks like or what it says. 


By taking some small steps today in checking the accessibility of your emails, documents, and presentations, you can make your work visible and accessible to a wider audience than ever before. What’s your accessibility score? 


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