Accessible Word documents
Word style sheets
Style sheets should be used for titles, headings and paragraphs of text to
provide structure to a document. Styles allow you to preset all formatting
options such as the font, spacing, bold and italics.
Table of contents
Create a table of contents to provide orientation and quick navigation to
sections of a document.
Avoid text boxes
Text boxes are inaccessible to screen readers.
Create linear tables
Table layouts should only be used if they make sense w
hen created in a
linear format and when headings used for columns are contained within the
same table cell as the associated text or information. Screen readers navigate
across the page by table cell.
Columns are difficult for co
gnitive impaired and screen
magnifier users to
navigate. Never make columns discontinuous (i.e. never continue a column
several pages later).
Use footnotes rather than endnotes.
Provide alternative text
Use relative positioning for all graphs
, diagrams and images to ensure that
they stay with the appropriate heading/paragraph if the text is resized.
Add a text equivalent to all graphs, diagrams and images.
Rich Text Formats (RTF)
RTF files can be transferred between different desktop
word processing programs and operating systems. The receiver doesn't need
specialised software to view and edit the file. Note that when you create and
RTF the semantic information is not included for screen reader users.
ment Formats (PDF)
PDF files can be viewed in the browser or with a dedicated reader, such as
the Adobe Reader. PDFs can preserve fonts, images, graphics and layout of
any source document and are ideal for printing exactly as the author intended.
t the Human Rights Commission and the Australian Government do
not regard PDF to be an accessibly supported technology. Techniques to
create accessible PDF files and improvements with user agents are aiding the
accessibility of the PDF format, but document
s are not automatically
accessible and may require some rectification.
To make the content in the PDF accessible
provide an alternate
version to all PDF files. Preferably the alternate version should be in
compliant HTML, if not in a Word, audio o
r RTF file that is optimised for
For further information please contact
Business Development Consultant
Phone: 03 9864 9552
or 1300 84 74 66