The Accessibility Checker (Microsoft Office)

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What is the Accessibility Checker?

The accessibility checker is a built-in tool in Microsoft Office for Windows (versions 2010 or newer), and also Microsoft Office for Mac 2016, that can check your documents for common accessibility errors.

In addition it will provide information on how to fix the error, works in real-time, and can even be left open while you work on a document.

Note: You can get a free copy of the latest Microsoft Office via Office 365 for PPCC.

What does the checker do?

Basically, the checker automatically checks your document for accessibility based on a checklist of common problems. This checklist varies depending on the product used (Word, PowerPoint, Excel).

The accessibility checker categorizes detected issues as (according to Microsoft):

  • Errors – Errors are for content that makes a file very difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to understand.
  • Warnings – Warnings are for content that in most, but not all, cases makes a file difficult for people with disabilities to understand.
  • Tips – Tips are for content that people with disabilities can understand, but that might be better organized or presented in a way that would improve their experience.

You of course want to make sure your documents contain no errors, warnings, or tips (if possible); but I wanted to explain the difference between each of them.

How to use the checker

Opening the checker (Office for Windows)

Accessing the accessibility checker within Microsoft Office requires just a few simple steps:

Accessing the info window in Microsoft Office

1. Click on “File” and then “Info”.

Checking Accessibility in Microsoft Office

2. Click on “Check for Issues” and select “Check Accessibility.

Opening the checker (Office for Mac)

You can find instructions on how to use the accessibility checker, courtesy of Microsoft.

Note: Using the checker is a similar experience to that of the Windows version of Office.

Finding and solving errors, warnings, and tips.

When using the checker, you will see a panel appear on the right side. It will display any errors, warnings, or tips that the document has.

Accessibility Checker results in Microsoft Office

You can click on any errors or warnings to get information on how to fix them and why you should.

Additional Information panel, in the Accessibility Checker

Video Tutorial

The following video tutorial was developed by the Texas Governor’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities and is a great overview of how to use the accessibility checker:

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