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


CommonLook Office Ribbon.CommonLook® Office is an add-in to Microsoft® Word and PowerPoint that enables organizations to ensure the creation of accessible PDF documents and forms. 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.

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

Next, verify the checkpoints for each of the Section 508 provisions as applied to PDF files created from MS Word.

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

Using CommonLook Office

Screenshot of the CommonLook Office Style Mapping Checkpoint.

  1. Open an .DOC or .DOCX File. NOTE: converting MS Word forms to accessible PDF forms requires 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.  If corrections need to be made to the document you may either close CommonLook Office to make the changes, or simply make the changes to the Word document from within CommonLook Office, click “reload” and continue through the checkpoints.

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 Word document 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 document is written. For example, you might choose to run the Table checkpoint after you’ve inserted a table instead of waiting until the overall document has been completed.

Certain advanced options are also available in CommonLook Office Preferences.

Annotated Documents

CommonLook Office will not process Word files that contain review markup or comments. When attempting to run CommonLook Office on such a document the user will be warned and CommonLook Office will close.

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 ISO 14289 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.

Demonstration of CommonLook PDF for MS Word

Available on YouTube.

Use the Quick Start Guide

Download the “Quick Start Guide” (PDF) and the “Quick Start Document” (Microsoft Word) for step-by-step guidance using CommonLook Office on a sample Microsoft Word file.

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