Microsoft Word Accessibility Overview CCNY OER


"Accessible" refers to tools, technologies, and techniques that allow users with disabilities to use a product or service. In terms of digital content, examples include, but are not limited to software and hardware meant to verbalize text on a screen (i.e. screen readers), enlarge text, and specialized input devices.

"Digital Content" means any form of communication generated by a member of the CCNY community, but not limited to

  • audio
  • video
  • images
  • tables
  • forms
  • presentations
  • spreadsheets
  • emails (to both audiences within and outside of CCNY)
  • documents (in any format, including .docx and .pdf)
  • and web pages.

Why Accessibility Checker?

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Under the law, all content you share with your students must be ADA compliant.

Digital Accessibility Categories

  • Low Vision or Blindness
  • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • Learning Disabilities

Are materials from CCNY Library and OER Repositories accessible?

Yes, digitized documents in the CCNY library databases and OER repositories are ADA compliant.

Screen readers CANNOT read scanned documents

Avoid scanning print copies and sharing them with your students in a digital format.

What steps can we take to make Word documents accessible?

The steps below show how to optimize a document created in Word for various assistive technology software that students with disabilities may use.

1. Use built-in formatting style options

Select the text that you wish to format > Home > choose appropriate style. Organize headings in the prescribed logical order.

2. Create bulleted and numbered lists using options on the Home tab

Select the text > Home > List

3. Mark table headers

Select the table > Design > Table Headers

4. Add alternative text to images

Right-click on the image > Edit Alt Text > type the image description

5. Set the Document Title

File > Add Title

Additional tips



Created with images by Ashkan Forouzani - "untitled image" • Bench Accounting - "Man at a laptop in an office" • TeroVesalainen - "printer print printing"