This article provides information on how to create accessible documents.
Following these instructions will ensure that your documents can be easily read on a computer monitor with an audio screen reader or a computer's text to speech function.
Students rely on course documents for information related to program and course success; therefore, it is crucial that your materials are accessible to all students. The Center for Teaching and Learning is committed to helping all faculty and staff create accessible documents, ensuring that students can fully utilize all materials.
Accessible documents contain the following elements:
- Logical Reading Order - In order for a screen reader to correctly read text, tabular information such as a course schedule should be created using a properly formatted table. Text boxes and tabs simulating a table should be avoided.
- Headings - Documents should be structured hierarchically, with major and minor headings. For instance, a cell biology program might have "Cellular and Molecular Biology" as a heading 1 level, while the program objective might be, "Describe the functions of individual cells in a given tissue of a multicellular organism" as a heading 2 level.
In Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, and 2016: The Heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3) are located on the Home Tab, in the Styles Gallery.
- Table Headers - Tables should include a header row, which describes the content of each column.
In Microsoft Word, define the header row by selecting the entire table, right clicking to open the Table Properties, and check the Repeat as header row box.
- Alternative Text - Images should always contain alternative text or Alt-Text to convey appropriate meaning to those who may not be able to see the image. Alt-text should be concise.
In Microsoft Word: Right click on an image to open the Properties dialog and enter a concise description in the Alt-Text field.
- Hyperlinks - Avoid "click here," as those with limited mobility may not have this ability. Best practice is to place a hyperlink in the appropriate text and use an icon with Alt-text indicating whether the link is to a web page that opens in a new window of a file that downloads.
You can use the icons above in your own documents. Simply right-click to save to your computer. Remember, to add Alt-Text whan adding to your documents.
For assistance creating accessible documents, please contact Sharon Austin at 813-257-3249 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Disability Services, please contact the Academic Center for Excellence: