Creating Accessible Documents

Maximizing flexibility is the key. Providing an electronic version of a presentation that is presented visually in class, or of a handout that is distributed in hard copy, is a good idea for several reasons. Universal Design formats of electronic versions of documents give end users the ability to:

  • Listen as it is read out loud by text reading software
  • Magnify on screen
  • Print in a larger format
  • Convert to Braille

Check out the computer users page for more information


Word Processing

Microsoft Word or other word processors are often used to create all kinds of documents, many of which are then turned into PDF. There are best practices that make a big difference in how usable the resulting content will be.

  • Using styles to designate headings, lists, etc,
  • Using tables for information that should read row by row
  • Using columns for information that should read straight down
  • Provide alt text for images so screenreaders have something to announce
  • Use appropriate fonts, colors, and white space for maximum readability

For detailed information on how to use features within various versions of Word Processing programs check resources like these:

Information on using different versions of Word from WebAIM

Word 2007 course from Microsoft on how to use styles


Creating more Accessible PDF

Microsoft has a site showing how to create accessible pdf from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, etc

Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training Resources The Adobe Accessibility training site has a lot of great videos and step by step instructions for completing common tasks.

Adobe Accessibility is covered within the State of Alaska training and in an Access 2010 Conference session

UAA Faculty Video Tutorial (captioned) The key steps to creating accessible PDF are demonstrated in a captivate tutorial.

UAA PDF Quick Tip Handout The key steps to creating accessible PDF are illustrated in a printable handout.