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Re: Are there MS Word Templates for MLA, APA and Chicago Styles that generate accessible documents?


From: Cliff Tyllick
Date: Jun 22, 2009 11:00AM

Wayne, I'm curious.

What features in a template would cause documents produced by using it?

Here at the TCEQ, we are still using Word 2003. Used properly, our publishing templates produce accessible documents. But the problem has been to get our staff to use the templates properly.

The most effective solution we have found has been to create a toolbar that contains no buttons that lead to inaccessible formatting. Instead, we have added buttons for commands that lead to accessible formatting.

For example, Font selection, Bold, Italics, and Underline are gone. In their place are buttons labeled H1, H2, and H3, the style selection list, and the button to open the "Styles and Formatting" task pane.

Similarly, the alignment buttons are gone. To change alignment, we want people to modify a style.

Increase Indent and Decrease Indent have been replaced with buttons for Promote List Item and Demote List Item:
- To increase the margin, we want people to change the page setup.
- To increase the indent, we want them to use an appropriate style.
- When they are working with a multilevel list, we want them to make a conscious decision to either change the indent or change the level of the item. We don't want them to just move the text across the page and leave it up to Word to guess their intent.

Other extremely helpful buttons have been Document Map, Insert Table of Contents, Update Table of Contents, and Show All Formatting Marks. By grouping these together, we establish and reinforce the concept of what structure is and how to review it.

We have also discovered that it's possible to save a custom list of styles in our templates. When they open the task pane, people see only the styles that make sense for the template they are using. Because irrelevant styles no longer create a confusing clutter, people find it easier to find the ones they need. So they actually use them.

Except that the toolbar will import to Word 2007 as an add-in, I am not sure how well this approach will work in that environment. With bated breath I await my chance to test drive Word 2007. I understand that Microsoft has made it impossible to avoid the buttons that lead to inaccessible formatting. Oy vey.

Separately, I will send you a copy of the toolbar with instructions for adding it to any document or template.

Cliff Tyllick
Web development coordinator
Agency Communications Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

>>> Wayne Dick < <EMAIL REMOVED> > 6/21/2009 1:28 PM >>>
Hello Group,

I am trying to get a faculty
of 2-3,000 to produce
accessible instructional
materials. The overwhelming
majority of the faculty use MS
Office tools. Next fall, I
will teach accessibility
techniques like the WebAIM
tutorials, but they will be
customized to address academic
document production. I will
teach about 150 faculty
members as my kernel group.

Here is my question: Are there
office academic templates for
MLA, APA and the Chicago style
manuals that render accessible
results? I would prefer not to
develop these myself. Such
tools should probably exist if
we are every going to get
university faculty to
cooperate with accessibility

I know of several such
templates that don't produce
accessible output. I know of
the back end products that
do the best they can with
inaccessible Office Documents.
Neither work for my purposes.

So, help.

Wayne Dick, Professor
Computer Engineering and
Computer Science,
California State University,
Long Beach