Categories
Course Accessability

Accessibility in Word Documents

There are a few things that document creators can do within Word to help ensure accessibility. Keep in mind that the content covered in the previous tabs in this Guide should be considered when designing a Word document. This page outlines a few basic Word tools that will allow users to identify images, format text, and format tables.

Image Identification

Microsoft Word allows you to add alt text to tables, diagrams, images, and other visual objects. The following illustrates how to accomplish this task.

To add Alt Text to an image:

  1. Add the image to the document.
  2. Select the image.
  3. From the Word menu, select Format > Picture.
  4. From the resulting prompt, click on Alt Text..
  5. Enter the Alt Text into the Description field.
    Note: Do not enter the Alt Text into the Title field.
  6. Click [OK].

Formatting Text

Microsoft Word contains a number of tools that can help users make text accessible. The following instructions outline how to create headers and lists.

Text Headings

To properly format text headings:

  1. Select the text that should be a header.
  2. From the Styles pane on the Home tab, select the appropriate Heading format.

Lists

To properly format numbered or bulleted lists:

  1. Select the text that should be made into a list.
  2. From the Paragraph pane on the Home tab, select either the Numbered or Bulleted list icon.
  3. To indent list items, select the Indent icon.

Formatting Tables

Microsoft Word allows you to add alt text to describe the table and to indicate whether the first row is a header. The following instructions illustrate how to accomplish these tasks.

Table Headers

To identify the first row of a table as a header row:

  1. Select the table.
  2. From the Table menu item, select Heading Rows Repeat.

Table Alt Text

To add Alt Text to a table:

  1. Select the table.
  2. Click on Table in the top menu.
  3. From the Table menu, select Table Properties.
  4. If not already selected, click the Alt Text tab.
  5. Enter the alternative text for the table into the Description field.
    Note: Do not add the alt text to the Title field.
  6. Click [OK].

Resources

Categories
Course Accessability

Image Identification

There is one (1) guideline for images presented in a digital context:

  • Images should be accompanied by an “alt” attribute.

The “alt” attribute allows you to enter a short textual description of the image that tells the user more about the content or function of the image. The “alt” attribute serves to provide a textual description of the images that :

  • can be read by screen readers used by individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities.
  • appear within a browser in the event the images do not load on the page.
  • can be identified by search engines that can help a user find content online.

Below are a few scenarios and examples.

Empty Alt Tag

If the text or narrative in the vicinity of the image conveys the content of the image, it is acceptable to leave an empty alt attribute.

Example:

“The placement of the emojis on the brain image are not necessarily representative of where the emotional response and associated language development actually occur.”

Alt = ” “

Canvas Empty Alt Example

When adding an image to a page in Canvas, the Alt text field in the Attributes section can be left blank when the surrounding text properly conveys the content of the image.

Descriptive Alt Tag

If the text or narrative relates to the image but does not directly describe the image the “alt” attribute should provide a description of the image.

Example:

a brain composed of emojis

“The effect of emoji use in text messaging and other digital communications on emotional development and language expression are as yet unknown.”

Alt = “a brain composed of emojis”

Canvas Descriptive Alt Example

When adding an image to a page in Canvas, the Alt text field in the Attributes section should be completed when the text or narrative does not directly describe the content of the image.

Images as Links Alt Tag

When an image is also used as a link or button, the “alt” attribute should reflect the function of the image.

Example:

Huffington Post Article on Emojis and Language Development"
This image is being used as a link to an article; as such, the "alt" text indicates that this image links to the article.

“A recent article in the Huffington Post outlines the effect of emojis use on language development in children.”

Alt = “Huffington Post Article on Emojis and Language Development”
This image is being used as a link to an article; as such, the “alt” text indicates that this image links to the article.

Canvas Functional Alt Example

When adding an image to a page in Canvas that is also a link to a URL or other resource, the Alt text field in the Attributes section should be completed with text that describes the function or purpose of the image.

Resources

  • Alternative Text This webpage outlines the role of “alt” tags in properly identifying images in digital content.