Background Purpose I Instructions


Headings are particularly important as they are often used to perceive a document’s structure and to navigate through a document. The proper use of styles to denote headings (as opposed to merely using visual clues like bold text to indicate a new section) enables assistive technologies to also identify the various headings and sections in a document.  As a result, people using assistive technology are able to navigate their way through the document as well.


Ensure that heading styles do not skip. For example, a heading level 1 cannot be followed by a heading level 3 (without a heading level 2 in-between).


CommonLook Office will display a warning message for each instance of skipped heading levels. To correct the problem, close CommonLook Office by clicking Close on the Word Ribbon and edit the document to ensure no heading levels are skipped.

Picture of the Logical Heading Level checkpoint showing a warning that the document contains invalid nesting of heading elements.

Guidelines and Standards

This checkpoint is relevant to the following regulations, guidelines and standards.

DocumentPublishedScopeConformance Criteria
Section 508 (USA)2001“Web-Based Information & Applications”Not required
W3C WCAG 2.02008Web ContentSC 2.4.6
SC 2.4.10
ISO 14289 (PDF/UA)2012PDF TechnologySection 7.4