Review the information below to understand how MS Word and CommonLook Office GlobalAccess can assist in meeting accessibility obligations.

On this page: Adding Alternative Text | Adding Structure | Creating Hyperlinks | Meeting Conformance Standards

Adding Alternative Text Descriptions for Graphics Objects

People who are visually impaired require an alternative means of accessing the information conveyed by images and other non-text objects (for example, charts).  CommonLook Office Global Access provides the functionality to not only add alternative text to images, charts, and graphics but also allows the user to verify that the alternative text provided is, in fact, appropriate for the particular image.

Use Styles to Add Structure

Correct use of built-in Word styles, such as heading levels, helps ensure that the document is properly structured. This makes the document easier to navigate by people using many types of assistive technology. CommonLook Office Global Access will test the document to make sure that heading levels are being used correctly including verifying that headings are not skipped.

Creating Hyperlinks in Word

To properly create a hyperlink in MS Word, type the text you’d like to hyperlink, right click it, and, from the context menu, choose hyperlink.  Then, in the address field, enter the URL for where the link should go.  Tip:  To make sure that the URL is correct, it might be helpful to go to the webpage, copy the URL, and then simply paste it into the text field for the address in Word.

Note:  If you want the link to open an email, go to a different file, or go to a different location in the same document, choose the appropriate button on the left side of the menu when creating the link in Word.

Meeting Conformance Standards

While WCAG 2.0 is designed for web content, it’s a commonly cited source for general principles of accessibility in electronic content including PDF documents.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has its own set of conformance criteria (based on WCAG 2.0 and other “best practices”) for the creation of PDF documents.

PDF U/A (Universal Accessibility) is the “gold standard” of PDF accessibility because, unlike Section 508 and WCAG 2.0, the guidelines are specific to PDF documents and not “electronic content” including HTML.

Along with making PDF documents comply with Section 508 criteria, CommonLook Office GlobalAccess enables conformance to any and all of the above mentioned standards during the Word-to-PDF conversion process.  Simply choose the required conformance level when running the software and follow the instructions.