Document accessibility applies to all documents created for citizens or state employees, whether they are posted to a web site, a file sharing application (such as SharePoint) or distributed through email. When you follow accessibility standards, your document can be accessed by everyone.

Microsoft Office products, (with the exception of Visio), can easily be made accessible. A good rule of thumb is that accessible documents have:

  • Structural formatting, like headings, tables and lists that allow users to navigate the document.
  • Descriptive text that explains pictures, charts and graphs to users.
  • Layout, design and color that makes the content accessible to use and understand.

Learning about and applying the basic concepts of document accessibility will help you meet the Missouri’s ICT standard.

Word Documents

Microsoft Word is the most common word processor on the market. Word files can also be the starting point for other files, such as PDF and HTML. Having the correct tools to create accessible Word documents is imperative to improving your institution’s accessible content.

As a general rule, include three design principles to create an accessible document:

  • Structure – the document structure such as tags, headers and more will define how to navigate the document. For example In a Word document, structure is set this up with the Styles section of the menu bar.
  • Give Alternatives – describe images, audio and video with alt text or captioning. In a Word document, the alt text description of an image is completed by selecting the image with the right click of the mouse, select Size and then type in the image description in the Alt Text tab.
  • Identify – language, anchors, and major structure aspects such as chapters. In a Word document you need to identify the preferred language in the properties section of the document.

Scanned PDF Documents

  • AVOID using scanned documents as much as possible
  • If you cannot avoid it, see the PDF Accessibility Workflow to see the process for converting an accessible scanned document

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