Creating Accessible Documents

Getting Started

Online courses need to be accessible for all learners. When developing your course you will want to consider multiple means of engagement and a variety of ways for students learn the course material. This guide created by the Disability Resource Center will help get you started with PDF and Word documents.

Tool to check if your page is Accessible

Introduction to Web Accessibility

Webaim helps you understand how people with disabilities use the web, and what you can do to make your sites more accessible.

WAVE – web accessibility evaluation tool

WAVE Toolbar

Cynthia Says Portal – Educates users in the concepts behind website accessibility

Jared Smith: Introduction to Web Accessibility

Tests color for web content: Color Contrast Analyser


Bellevue College Disability Resource Center Accessibility Guide

Office 2016 and Office365 Accessibility Tutorials

Review Office 2013 accessibility tutorials. Tutorials are listed by Products and Topics.

Check for accessibility issues using the Accessibility Checker

Like the spelling checker tells you about possible spelling errors, Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content.

Creating Accessible PDFs

Tagged PDF files make it easier for screen readers to determine a logical reading order and navigation for the file. Accessible pdfs can be created in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Create accessible Word documents

Tutorial: Create Word 2010 documents that are more accessible to people with disabilities. Learn how to format your document using Styles, add alternative text to images, and other tips to make your document easier for users and assistive technologies to navigate.

Create an accessible Office document

Tutorial: Find out what accessibility means and how people with disabilities experience your documents. Learn about the different accessibility needs of various people and what you should do to make your documents available to them.

Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations

Review how to: Add alternative text to images and objects, Specify column header information in tables, Ensure that all slides have unique titles, Use hyperlink text that is meaningful, Include closed captions for any audio or video, Ensure that the reading order of each slide is logical, Increase visibility for colorblind viewers.

Cheat-sheets developed by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education.

Tools used as a Screen Reader

NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) is a free, open source screen reader for Microsoft Windows, which enables blind and vision impaired people to use computers. It is developed by NV Access in collaboration with a global community of contributors. To learn more about NVDA, download a copy or make a donation, visit the main NV Access website. YouTube video of using NVDA

VoiceOver is built in with Apple products. Refer to the VoiceOver guides and other accessibility features on Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc.

Narrator is the basic screen reader for Windows systems, which reads text on the screen aloud.

WindowEyes – Window-Eyes enables individuals who are blind or visually impaired to be completely independent on a Windows PC

Resources from other Organizations

University of Washington Faculty Room for ADA (DoIt)

University of Washington – Making PDFs accessible

Portland Community College resource page for Accessibility

University of Minnesota Accessibility – Advancing Access for Everyone

University of Buffalo – Web accessibility designing web pages for all users

TechRepublic Blog on Creating an ADA Compliant Website

Free Resources from Merlot for Faculty and Staff

Video Resources

Google Tips on Adding subtitles, transcripts and captions to presentations and videos:

Help for Students with Disabilities

  • Natural Readers – This is an application that helps people read by both presenting text line by line and then announcing it auditorially.

Converting files and textbooks for accessibility

  • Browse Aloud – Online content can be read aloud in multiple languages
  • AccessText – To access books in different formats, disability officer can contact and fill in the online form request. Takes about 3 days.
  • Accessible Event – Online communications using lectures, presentations, webinars, etc.

Mind mapping and other graphics:

  • Omnigraffle – used for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Free tools for mind mapping:

Last Updated April 9, 2024