It is possible to use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint to create accessible PDF documents without Adobe Acrobat Professional or CommonLook Office GlobalAccess.  However, using CommonLook Office GlobalAccess is comprehensive, straightforward, easy to use, and makes the whole process much less prone to error.

The following comparison illustrates the functionality and the limitations of MS Word and PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, and CommonLook Office GlobalAccess.

Feature MS Word & PowerPoint Adobe Acrobat X or XI Professional CommonLook Office GlobalAccess
Check images for alternative text prior to PDF creation
Generate tagged PDF
Generate linked and tagged tables of contents Word only
Generate PDF bookmarks from document structure Word only
Check for headings Word only
Check links for alternative text prior to PDF creation
Check and warn on overlapping objects
Check for available fonts, prompt for substitution
Check and correct style mappings for each document
Check for correct list structure
Check the use of color to convey information
Check documents and presentations in Compatibility Mode
Check for Conformance with Section 508, WCAG 2.0, PDF U/A and HHS
Support for presentation tables
Support for tables with row headers
Support for Scope attribute in header cells
Support for complex tables via linked headers
Convert DOC and PPT forms to accessible, fillable PDF forms
Step-by-step checkpoint-oriented workflow
Manage checkpoint usage for advanced workflows
Alternative text validation via regular expressions
After creation correction and cleanup
(Limited Capacity)
Use CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess