Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word (text) documents are one of the most widely used formats for learning materials. To ensure that you are providing equity of experience for all your learners, it is essential that you follow the accessibility guidelines below.

Following the guidelines will also make it easier for you to create a table of contents and convert your document into an accessible PDF format.

Topic/issue Action Comment
Title, headings and document formatting. Use the Word styles and formatting toolbar to format headings. This helps those with disabilities to navigate your document.
Page numbers Number all pages.  
Font
  1. Use a clear font style.
  2. Avoid underlining and italics (bold is preferable).
  3. Avoid italics and block capitals.
  4. Ensure text is left-aligned.
  5. Ensure good contrast between font and background colours.
WebAIM: Fonts has a good Web page on using fonts.
Table of contents Insert this based on Word heading styles. This provides content information and enables users to move quickly to relevant areas.
Bullet points and numbering Use to lay out information clearly.  
Images   See section on images.
Hyperlinks Avoid ‘Click here’ – this may be incomprehensible to those using a screen reader. The nature of the link should meaningful when read out of context. This is especially important for those who use a screen reader, who could then browse by hyperlink title. For example: The most widely used search engine on the internet is Google.

  If the document is to be printed, also include the full hyperlink in brackets.

Add a screen tip with explanatory text.
Example: The most widely used search engine on the internet is Google.

This assists those using a screen reader.
Figures Include figure numbers and captions. See section on tables and figures.
Tables Include table numbers and captions. See section on tables and figures.
Charts and diagrams Provide a content summary. This should describe key information.
Symbols Where appropriate, use words rather than symbols. For example: copyright rather than ©.

Further information

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All efforts have been made to ensure materials created by the EDU comply with current accessibility guidelines (JISC: Support for learners with disabilities).

If further assistance is required with accessibility matters please contact the student support section in your academic partner UHI: Accessing learner support.

We welcome any comments on how to improve this unit. Please feel free to pass these on at any time.

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UHI provides links to external sources of information and may refer to specific Web sites, products, processes or services within this resource. Such references are examples and are not endorsements and whilst every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy of information provided UHI is not responsible for any of the content or guidance. You are advised to exercise caution.

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