Word and PowerPoint Accessibility Evaluation Checklist
A PDF version of this checklist is also available.
The following checklist uses the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office 2016 and newer. See our Word and PowerPoint articles for more information on using the checker and creating accessible electronic documents.
To start the accessibility checker:
- On Office 2016 for Windows: dropdown menu
- On all other versions:
, , and indicate automated feedback from the Accessibility Checker. These may vary slightly based on your operating system and how recently your version of Office was updated. review items will require manual checking for accessibility issues.
|Headings use Word "Styles" (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.)||Manual:. Text that should be a heading is present in pane.||Apply the correct heading style intab > gallery|
|Headings levels are correct (Heading 1: Main, Heading 2: Section heading, etc.).||
||Apply the correct heading style intab > gallery|
|Headings are not empty||Manual: There are no empty lines in.||Delete empty headings|
Slide Titles (PowerPoint-only)
|Slides have descriptive titles (See Note)||
||Enter a descriptive slide title in the.|
|Slide titles should typically be unique||When appropriate, change the slidetext so it is unique on every slide.|
The PowerPoint checker requires a descriptive title for every slide. If it is not appropriate to have a title on a slide, omit the title (but it will be flagged as an error).
Slide Reading Order (PowerPoint-only)
|Slide reading order is logical||; Ensure reading order is bottoming to top|
|Images and other non-text content have alternative text (see Note)||
|Alternative text is equivalent||Manual: Inspect text in thefield, or field in newer versions||Enter alternative text in theor field|
|Images that present content are positioned "In Line with Text" (Word-only)||> >|
- There is not a reliable way to hide decorative images from screen readers in older versions of Word or PowerPoint. If an image is decorative, or if the alternative text is already presented in nearby text, we recommend leaving the image blank. Unfortunately, that means it will be shown as an error in Accessibility Checker.
- If you have a newer version of Office with the "Edit Alt Text" option, there is a "Mark as decorative" checkbox. Check this box if the image is decorative.
- Some never versions have a "Generate a description for me" button. Do not select this. The quality of the automatically-generated descriptions is usually very poor, and a description of an image is often not the same as alternative text.
- If a document has images with automatic descriptions. " " will appear in the Accessibility checker. Review and repair the alternative text of these images.
- Some older versions of Office will prompt you to add alternative text to tables. This is not recommended.
|The first row in a table contains correctly-defined column headers.||Tabletab > Check checkbox|
|When the first column of a table should contain headers, they are correctly identified as row headers.||Manual: Click within the Tabletab > make sure the checkboxes match the table header structure.||Check or uncheck the "First Column" checkbox to match the table header structure.|
|Table has a simple structure, avoiding merged cells or split cells||. Use the key to ensure the order of the cells in the table is logical.||Tabletab > or|
|Tables don't use blank columns or rows for visual formatting||
Warning: Tables don't use blank cells for formatting (not in all versions)
Manual: Visual Inspection
|empty column or row >|
|Avoid tables that are used for layout when possible. If used, or ensure table reading order is logical.||(for tables with no borders or styles). Use the key to navigate the cells and ensure reading order is correct.||
Support for table headers is still incomplete in Office. If you are saving a file as a PDF, the table structure should be reviewed and improved in Acrobat Pro.
Color and Contrast
|Text (and images of text) have good contrast||
|Color is not used as the only way information is presented||Manual: Visually review the document for color reliance.||Use text or other visual presentations in addition to color.|
|Document has a descriptive file name||Manual: The filename that appears at the very top of the application window accurately describes the file.||
|Document has a descriptive Title||
||Enter a descriptive document title in thefield|
|There are no spelling or grammar issues||
|Bulleted and numbered lists are used correctly||Manual: Click on text that looks like a list. In thetab, or is highlighted.||Change text to use the correct type of list.|
|Multiple spaces/lines/tabs are not used for layout.||
||Use Paragraph styles or columns to control spacing between elements.|
|Media has captions and/or transcripts||
||Provide media with captions and/or transcripts.|