Microsoft Word is currently the most common word processor on the market. Because it is so common, the .doc (and to a lesser extent, .docx) format has become the de facto format for text documents. Word is often used to create files that end up in PDF and HTML. This article will cover several things that you can do to make web content created in Word more accessible.
A good heading structure is probably the most important accessibility consideration in most Word documents. Headings will allow screen reader users to navigate through the page easily and will make the page more usable for everyone. Many people do not use true styles in Word. For example, when creating a heading, they simply change the font, enlarge the font size, make it bold, etc. If this is done, the document has no real structure that can be discerned by a screen reader. In Word, the correct way to provide structure is to use Word styles. This section will outline how to add and edit headings in all common versions of Word.
Word 2007 and 2010
Word 2007 and later does a good job of encouraging the use of proper styles. About half of the default toolbar is devoted to styles. To change a block of text, select the text and click on the appropriate style.
Images can be given appropriate alternative text in Word. This alt text will be read by a screen reader in a Word file and should remain intact when exporting to HTML or PDF.
Word 2010 moved the alt text field back to an intuitive place, but made things even more confusing by creating two fields for alt text. To add alt text to an image, Select theoption.
With the Format Picture menu open, select the option forin the sidebar. Two fields will appear, one labeled and one labeled . For best results, add appropriate alt text to the field, not the field. Information in the field will not be saved as alt text when the file is saved as HTML or PDF.