Charts

  • Add alt-text to Charts. Provide general information about the chart like its title, legend, labels, etc.
  • Provide a longer description. Add an in-depth text description and/or the data table below the chart. You can also provide this information in a separate document.
  • If the data is available online, then link to it.

Columns

The Columns tool is an accessible way to give your document a newsletter-style column look. Keep in mind that assistive technologies will read each column in its entirety before moving onto the column beside it.

Endnotes and Footnotes

Make your endnotes and footnotes bigger. The default size is difficult for just about everyone to see. You can change how endnotes and footnotes look with Word.

Note that in-built endnotes and footnotes do work with most screen readers; although, sometimes they will fail to read the reference number in the main text.

Forms

It is not recommended to use Word documents as a fillable form. If possible, use online forms, such as Google Forms or Qualtrics.

Image Captions

Image captions are accessible; however, they are usually not a substitute for alt-text.

Links

Use hyperlink Text to Display to explain the link location and purpose. You can add the URL for those who will print the document.

Link example:

Learn more about NYU Digital Accessibility. (https://www.nyu.edu/footer/accessibility)

Math and Equations

MathType

The easiest and most accessible way to input equation is with the MathType for Microsoft Office. Students with screen readers can read the equations directly within the Word document, and it can also be converted to formats such as Braille.
You can also copy and paste ASCII text, MathML, or LaTex into MathType for conversion.

Although Word does have an equation editor, it does not currently work with screen readers. It is not recommended that you use the built-in Word equation editor. However, MathType is able to convert Word equations to MathType.

Alt-Text

If you only have an image of the equation, then use the alt-text editor within Word to describe the equation. If you cannot use MathType, and you have the equation in ASCII text, MathML, or LaTex, then you can use MathML Cloud to get an image of the equation with suggested alt-text.

Objects

Objects (Insert > Object) are usually an embedded spreadsheet, graph, or image. These are not accessible within Word. Instead use the built-in table, image, and Chart features in the Insert tab.

Page Numbers

The built-in Word Page Number tool is the recommended way to indicate page numbers.

Shapes

Shapes (located in Insert > Shapes) are currently difficult to make accessible, and it is not advised that you use it. However, taking a screenshot with Snipping Tool for Windows or Grab for Mac allows you to get a static image of Shapes. You can add the static image to your document and describe it using alt-text.

SmartArt

SmartArt cannot be made fully accessible, and it should be avoided. However, taking a screenshot with Snipping Tool for Windows or Grab for Mac allows you to get a static image of SmartArt. You can add the screenshot image to your document and describe it with alt-text.

Superscripts and Subscripts

Screen readers will read the text as if everything was regular text. If the content is an equation, then visit the Math section for more.

Text Boxes

Use of built-in text boxes is strongly discouraged. Instead, you can add borders to virtually all items using the Borders tool.

Watermarks

Avoid using watermarks, because they disrupt the readability of the text. Instead, consider adding a prominent statement to the beginning of the document or page.

WordArt

WordArt is difficult to make fully accessible, and therefore should be avoided. Although Text Effects is a better solution, make sure the text has high contrast with the background and is easy to read. Avoid excessive shadows, reflection, and glow.