Contents

Accessible Documents

Information for multiple document types

Microsoft Word 

General guidelines:

  • Use heading styles to separate sections of your documents. This helps screen readers navigate easily through the pages. 
  • Add alternative (Alt) text to all images, charts and graphs. For purely decorative images, use "" as the alternative text. This designation tells screen readers to skip over the image. 
  • Use link text that explains the link purpose and not "click here" or the entire URL string. 
  • Use true columns, true bullets and true numbering. Avoid using tabs and hard returns for space formatting. 
  • Avoid colored text. If using color, provide an alternate mode of conveying meaning such as patterns or shapes. 

Detailed resources:  

Adobe PDF

General guidelines:

  • Start with an accessible Word document to create an accessible PDF document.
  • Use the columns feature, not tables, for formatting blocks of text. 
  • If starting with a scanned image use OCR (optical character recognition) to retrofit accessibility.

Note: to perform OCR and other advanced tasks you will need a full version of Adobe Acrobat. UMass Amherst faculty and staff can obtain a free version for University owned computers. For more information and to download the software see the Adobe Campus Agreement

Detailed resources: 

See Creating Accessible Presentations for information on PowerPoint documents.