Sequence of Checkpoints I Content Preparation Checkpoints

CommonLook Office addresses Section 508 requirements in PDF files it creates from MS Word. For efficiency and ease-of-use CommonLook Office first identifies applicable checkpoints based on the document’s content. CommonLook Office then leads you through the tasks associated with each checkpoint to ensure the resulting PDF file is accessible and conforms with Section 508.

CommonLook Office Checkpoints Tab.

The nature and sequence of the checkpoints in CommonLook Office is carefully chosen to help address typical situations encountered in MS Word. If you have the Professional license of CommonLook Office, creation of accessible PDF forms is also covered. CommonLook Office goes far above and beyond the original US Section 508 regulations to make it easy to create highly accessible PDF files in a comprehensive, methodical manner.

Sequence of Checkpoints

CommonLook Office begins with Content Preparation Checkpoints to help prepare the document for conversion followed by the Section 508 Checkpoints. Once you are comfortable with CommonLook Office you may opt for a variety of workflows. Beginning or occasional users should proceed through the checkpoints in the order presented.

Content Preparation Checkpoints

The Content Preparation Checkpoints help ensure that document content is accessible when converted to PDF. Proper consideration and handling of styles, headings, fonts, objects and more is vital to ensuring readability with assistive technology and thus to compliance with Section 508’s paragraph (d) and PDF/UA as well as accessibility guidelines including WCAG 2.0.


Check for the correct use of styles in the Word document. More information on the Styles checkpoint.

Style Mapping

Verify that MS Word styles are mapped correctly to appropriate PDF tags. More information on the Style Mapping checkpoint.

Logical Heading Levels

While unaddressed in the current Section 508 regulations, WCAG 2.0 recommends and PDF/UA requires that heading levels be logical. In PDF, heading levels provide vital navigability to users with assistive software such as JAWS, NVDA or other software capable of PDF navigation by headings. This checkpoint verifies that heading levels (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are logical. More information on the Logical Heading Levels checkpoint.

Font Substitution

Identify any document fonts missing from the system; ensure substitution with appropriate fonts. More information on the Font Substitution checkpoint.

Overlapping Objects

Check for overlapping objects that may hide text in the output PDF. More information on the Overlapping Objects checkpoint.


Verify that lists are correctly identified. More information on the Lists checkpoint.

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