Background I MS Word Techniques I CommonLook Office Techniques

Background

Picture of the Illustrations group which is part of the Insert tab in the Word ribbon. The Illustrations group allows the user to select one of the following types of illustrations: Pictures, Clip Arts, Shapes, Smart Art or Charts.. People with a visual impairment need an alternative way of accessing the information conveyed by images and other non-textual objects (e.g., charts).

A meaningful description of pictures, clip art, shapes, Smart Art objects, and charts is required in order to provide this information. These object types are shown in the Illustrations group, part of the Insert tab in the Word ribbon.

NOTE: Objects are often included in documents simply for decorative purposes. To be handled correctly in an accessible PDF, such objects must be marked as “artifacts.”

For more information, refer to the section on Artifacts, below. There is no support for marking objects as artifacts in MS Word.

The following sections illustrate the techniques available in MS Word and CommonLook Office for adding alternative text to non-textual objects.

MS Word 2007 & 2010 Techniques

Picture, Clip Art, Smart Art and Chart

  1. Double-click or right-click on the object to display the format tab.
  2. Click on the little arrow in the Size (Word 2007) or Styles (Word 2010) group to display the Size dialog box.Picture of the Size group which is part of the Format tab in the Word ribbon. The Size group allows the user to open the Size dialog box to change the size of the selected object or to specify alternative text
  3. Click on the Alt Text tab and provide a description of the selected picture, clip art, smart art, or chart. The description should communicate all of the relevant information about the object. In Word 2010, be sure to use the “Description” field, not the Title field.
    Adding alternative text in Word 2007Adding alternative text in Word 2010
    Picture of the Size dialog box which allows the user to specify alternative text for an object. Adding alternative text to images in Word 2010 indicating use of the Description field in the alt. text tab.

Shape

Shapes are typically used to create a more complex object (for example, a flow chart). You must groups these shapes together before providing an alternative text description.

To group a collection of shapes in MS Word:

  1. Select all the shapes to be grouped (This can be done by pressing the ctrl key as you select each of the shapes).
  2. Right click on one of the selected shapes.
  3. Select Grouping and then select Group.
    Adding alt text to grouped shapes in Word 2007Adding alt text to grouped shapes in Word 2010
    Screen-shot of a number of shaped being grouped in MS Word 2007.Screen-shot of a number of shaped being grouped in MS Word 2010.
    Once the shapes are grouped, click on the resulting object to display the format tab.Once the shapes are grouped, click on the resulting object to display the format tab.
    Click on the little arrow in the Size group to display the Format Autoshape dialog box.Picture of the Size group, part of the Format tab in the Word ribbon. The Size group allows the user to open the Size dialog box to change the size of the selected object or to specify alternative textClick on the little arrow in the Shape Styles group to display the Format Shape dialog box.Picture of the Shape Styles group, part of the Drawing Tools tab in the Word ribbon.
    Click on the Alt Text tab and provide a description of the selected object. The description should communicate all relevant information:Picture of the Format Autoshape dialog box which allows the user to specify the alternative text for an object.Click on the Alt Text tab and provide a description of the selected object. The description should communicate all relevant information:Picture of the dialog box which allows the user to specify the alternative text for an object.

Artifacts

Artifacts are objects intended for purely decorative purposes (i.e., they don’t contribute information to the document). While Word includes no support for marking objects as artifacts, CommonLook Office makes this possible.

CommonLook Office Techniques

Use CommonLook Office to mark objects as artifacts or add textual descriptions to meaningful graphics.

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