Review the information below to understand how MS Word and CommonLook Office can assist in meeting accessibility obligations.

Adding Alternative Text Descriptions for Graphics Objects

People with a visual impairment require an alternative way of accessing the information conveyed by images and other non-textual objects (e.g., charts). Learn more about adding text descriptions for graphic objects in MS Word.

Use Styles to Add Structure

Proper use of built-in Word styles, such as heading levels, helps ensure that the document is properly structured. This makes the document easier to navigate by people using many types of assistive technology. Learn more about using styles in MS Word.

Creating Hyperlinks in Word

To properly create a hyperlink in MS Word, type the text you’d like to hyperlink, right click it, and, from the context menu, choose hyperlink.  Then, in the address field, enter the URL for where the link should go.  Tip:  To make sure that the URL is correct, it might be helpful to go to the webpage, copy the URL, and then simply paste it into the text field for the address in Word.

Note:  If you want the link to open an email, go to a different file, or go to a different location in the same document, choose the appropriate button on the left side of the menu when creating the link in Word.

Apply Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)

While WCAG 2.0 is designed for web content it’s a commonly cited source for general principles of accessibility in electronic content. The PDF format includes a number of powerful accessibility features required for conformance with WCAG 2.0 in PDF.  CommonLook Office enables WCAG 2.0 conformance during the Word-to-PDF conversion process.

The following table lists all WCAG 2.0 success criteria. Each is presented with corresponding support in MS Word and in PDF output from MS Word using CommonLook Office. If success criteria are partially or unaddressed in software the responsible party is indicated.

WCAG 2.0 SC Support in Word 2007 & 2010 In PDF output from MS Word
1.1.1 Alternative text for graphics CommonLook Office (alternative text)
1.2.x By multimedia author By multimedia author (after PDF creation)
1.3.1 Supported CommonLook Office (headings, artifacts, lists)
1.3.2 Supported (most cases) CommonLook Office (order management)
1.3.3 By author By author
1.4.1 By author CommonLook Office (color checker)
1.4.2 By author By audio author (after PDF creation)
1.4.3 By author By author
1.4.4 Supported Supported
1.4.5 – 1.4.9 By author By author
2.1 – 2.4.2 Word macros / VB CommonLook Office (no scripts conveyed)
2.4.3 Some support CommonLook Office (orders form fields)
2.4.4 – 2.4.5 By author By author
2.4.6 Supported CommonLook Office (styles & heading levels)
2.4.7 Supported by .DOC / .DOCX Supported by PDF
2.4.8 – 2.4.10 By author By author
3.1.x By author By author
3.2.1 – 3.2.2 Word macros / VB CommonLook Office (no scripts conveyed)
3.2.3 – 3.2.4 By author By author
3.2.5 Word macros / VB CommonLook Office (no scripts conveyed)
3.3.1 Word macros / VB CommonLook Office (no scripts conveyed)
3.3.2 Supported CommonLook Office (forms)
3.3.3 – 3.3.6 Word macros / VB CommonLook Office (no scripts conveyed)
4.x All UI elements are standard All UI elements are standard