Creating Accessible Documents with Microsoft 365 Products Accessibility Checker


Introduction

Microsoft 365 products include the Accessibility Checker to help you make your documents comply with national and Virginia Tech accessibility requirements. 

The Microsoft 365 Accessibility Checker is available for the Microsoft 365 Suite on Microsoft 365, Windows, and macOS operating systems. Virginia Tech recommends our community members use the Accessibility Checker to make sure Microsoft Documents are accessible per VT Policy 7215 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

Contents

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Instructions

Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft 365 for macOS

Word

  1. Open any Microsoft Word document.
  2. Click the Review ribbon.
  3. Click Check Accessibility.
    Image of the above instructions
  4. Review message(s) in Accessibility Checker Inspector Results. See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error types.
    Image of the above instructions
  5. Make corrections to any items listed under Errors and Warnings.
    • Click on each item for details.
    • Refer to the Steps to Fix explanation for detailed instructions. 
    • See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error and warning types.

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PowerPoint

  1. Open any Microsoft PowerPoint document.
  2. Click the Review ribbon.
  3. Click Check Accessibility.
    Image of the above instructions
  4. Review message(s) in Accessibility Checker Inspector Results. Please see Rules for Accessibility Checker for clarifications on the different types of errors.
    Image of the above instructions
  5. Make corrections to any items listed under Errors and Warnings.

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Multimedia in PowerPoint

The PowerPoint media player doesn't include closed caption functionality. Link to audio and video content instead of embedding it in PowerPoint.

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Excel

  1. Open any Microsoft Excel document.
  2. Click the Review ribbon.
  3. Click Check Accessibility.
    Image of the above instructions
  4. Review message(s) in Accessibility Checker Inspector Results. See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error and warning types.
    Image of the above instructions
  5. Make corrections to any items listed under Errors and Warnings.
    • Click on each item for details. 
    • Refer to the Steps to Fix explanation for detailed instructions. 
    • See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error and warning types.

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Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft 365 for Windows

Word

  1. Open any Microsoft Word document.
  2. Click File
  3. In the Info tab click Check for Issues.
    Image of the above instructions
  4. Click Check Accessibility in the drop-down.
    Image of the above instructions
  5. The Accessibility Checker Inspection Results panel will open in your document. Please see Rules for Accessibility Checker for clarifications on the different types of errors.
    Image of the above instructions
  6. Make corrections to any items listed under Errors and Warnings.
    • Click on each item for details. 
    • Refer to the Steps to Fix explanation for detailed instructions. 
    • See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error and warning types.

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PowerPoint

  1. Open any Microsoft PowerPoint document.
  2. Click File.
  3. In the Info tab click Check For Issues.
    Image of the above instructions
  4. Click Check Accessibility in the drop-down.
    Image of the above instructions
  5. The Accessibility Checker Inspection Results will open in the slides. Please see Rules for Accessibility Checker for clarifications on the different types of errors.
    Image of the above instructions
  6. Make corrections to any items listed under Errors and Warnings.
    • Click on each item for details.
    • Refer to the Steps to Fix explanation for detailed instructions. 
    • See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error and warning types.

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Multimedia in PowerPoint

The PowerPoint media player doesn't include closed caption functionality. Link to audio and video content instead of embedding it in PowerPoint.

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Excel

  1. Open any Microsoft Excel document.
  2. Click File.
  3. In the Info tab click Check for Issues.
    Image of the above instructions
  4. Click Check Accessibility. This should return you to your document and open a side panel display called Accessibility Checker Inspection Results.
    Image of the above instructions
  5. Review message(s) in Accessibility Checker Inspection Results. Please see Rules for Accessibility Checker for clarifications on the different types of errors.
    Image of the above instructions
  6. Make corrections to any items listed under Errors and Warnings.
    • Click on each item for details.
    • Refer to the Steps to Fix explanation for detailed instructions. 
    • See Rules for Accessibility Checker for information on error and warning types.

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Creating Accessible Math and Science Formulas

Screen-readers can only read math and science formulas if they are created with MathType or MathML.

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Converting a Microsoft 365 File to an Accessible PDF

  1. In a Microsoft 365 app, click File, then click Export
  2. Click Create PDF/XPS Document and then click Create PDF/XPS.
    Image of the above instructions
  3. Make sure Standard is selected under Optimize For.
  4. Click Publish.
    Image of the above instructions

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Adding Image Descriptions

When writing an image description, also known as alternative (ALT) text, focus on meeting your audience's needs. The intended audience could be many different people with different needs. 

Students With and Without Disabilities Should Be Able To Acquire the Same Information

Engage the Reader

Accommodate Screen Readers

Read More About Alt Text Best Practices

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Getting Help

See documentation for creating accessible documents in macOS:

See documentation for creating accessible documents in Windows:

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