Creating Accessible Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets

As files become more digital, it's important to keep files accessible to people with disabilities. Microsoft Accessibility Video Training includes, lessons on how to create more accessible documents in Word and Excel. These Microsoft Office videos, Creating Accessible Documents and Start with an Accessible Excel Template, provide best practices for creating accessible documents.


Headings are a great way to tell people what they need to know quickly. Heading Styles allow students to skim the document to find the content they need. Headings make your syllabi accessible because screen readers and text-to-speech tools are programmed to recognize headings. Watch this video, Improve Accessibility with Heading Styles, to learn how to use styles for headings to make your documents easier to navigate.


See the video, Create Accessible Links, to learn how to create hyperlinks that use natural language so they are easy to understand.


Tables organize information visually and help you show relationships between things. Learn how to Create Accessible Tables so they can be read out loud to people who use a screen reader.


Alternative (alt) text can be read by screen readers, and helps people who are blind or who have low vision understand what images and other objects are in a document. You can add alt text to objects, such as pictures, clip art, charts, tables, shapes, SmartArt, embedded objects, and audio or video objects. Watch Improve Accessibility with Alt Text to learn how to add alt text to images and objects.

There are five common methods to provide adequate descriptions for complex images (including graphs, maps, diagrams and charts) that require longer descriptions. They are figure captions, in-text descriptions, long description attribute, tactile representations, and audible representations. Portland Community College provides instructional support for describing Complex Images to meet accessibility standards. For more information see, Accessibility of Online Content: Complex Image Accessibility.

Files Names

Using meaningful file names and add properties to your documents makes your files easier for everyone to find. These steps are important to follow to be compliant with legal requirements and guidelines. In this video, Create Accessible File Names, learn how to use meaningful file names that can make your documents easier to locate.

Accessibility Checker

In this video, Check Document Accessibility, learn how to open and use the Accessibility Checker to find issues that make Word difficult for people with disabilities.