Introduction I Using CommonLook Office I Guidelines and Standards Conformance | Demonstration I Quick Start Guide


Picture of the CommonLook Office tab within the PowerPoint Ribbon including the option to Create a CommonLook PDF.CommonLook® Office is an add-in to Microsoft® Word and PowerPoint that enables organizations to ensure creation of accessible PDF documents. CommonLook Office does not require prior knowledge of accessibility. You can begin making high-quality, accessible PDF files that conform to Section 508 immediately.

How does it work?

CommonLook Office leads the user through a series of checkpoints before generating a PDF file.

To check for a correct reading order and a number of other factors, you start with content preparation checkpoints to ensure your presentation is properly organized for conversion to accessible PDF.

Next, review the checkpoints for each of the Section 508 provisions as applied to PDF files created from PowerPoint.

Finally, an accessible, fully Section 508 conforming PDF file is generated.

Using CommonLook Office

PowerPoint Style Mapping Checkpoint.
The CommonLook Office process involves going through accessibility checkpoints that correspond to Section 508 as well as a number of other key accessibility and usability checks.

  1. Open a PowerPoint File. NOTE: PowerPoint presentations including forms require the Professional Edition of CommonLook Office.
  2. Click CommonLook Office in the ribbon.
  3. Click Create CommonLook PDF. The CommonLook Office panel appears on the right of the screen.
  4. Follow the instructions in the yellow box at the top of the CommonLook Office Panel.
  5. Click Next Task. You are moved to the next item. Note that some tasks may require you to close CommonLook Office to make the changes in PowerPoint.

Once all tasks for the current checkpoint have been completed the first task in the next applicable checkpoint is displayed.

Once all applicable checkpoints have been completed, CommonLook Office generates an accessible PDF document.

Alternative Workflows

CommonLook Office is designed to guide you through a complete range of accessibility checks prior to saving a PowerPoint presentation to a PDF. The sequence of checks is important; later checks depend on earlier checks.

You can, however, also choose to double-click on a checkpoint in the CommonLook Office Panel to run that checkpoint at any time. This procedure can be useful for testing as the presentation is written. For example, you might choose to run the Table checkpoint after you’ve inserted a table instead of waiting until the overall presentation has been completed.

Certain advanced options are also available in CommonLook Office Preferences.

Guidelines and Standards Conformance

While the checkpoints are organized around the US Section 508 regulations in effect since 2001, CommonLook Office 1.2 was developed in awareness of WCAG 2.0 (2008) and PDF/UA (2012). Information about how CommonLook Office helps users meet Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 is provided in the documentation for each checkpoint.

A demonstration of CommonLook Office for PowerPoint

Available on YouTube.

Quick Start Guide

Download the Quick Start Guide (PDF) and the Quick Start PowerPoint (Microsoft PowerPoint) for step-by-step guidance using CommonLook Office to create accessible PDF from PowerPoint.

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