Background and Purpose I Instructions 

Background and Purpose

Headings are visually important as they are often used to perceive a document’s structure and to navigate through it. The proper use of styles to denote headings in a document, as opposed to merely using visual clues, enables assistive technologies to also identify these headings and use them for navigation.  

PowerPoint has no concept of heading levels, so this checkpoint may never be shown unless the checkpoint is manually requested.   CommonLook Office provides the opportunity to map titles and other content to specific headings via the Style Mapping checkpoint (for Tags) and to utilize the Readability checkpoint (for ordering).   

When headings have been set in the file, this checkpoint ensures that heading levels aren’t skipped; for example, a heading level 1 cannot be followed by a heading level 3 (without a heading level 2 in-between).

Heading Level Checkpoint.


Unless the preference for this checkpoint is set to “Always Skip”, the checkpoint will be triggered automatically whenever illogical heading levels are detected. If such a case occurs, determine the cause and make the appropriate correction:

  • Note the problematic headings reported, then investigate and correct with the style mapping checkpoint.
  • If a skipped heading level is due to a lack of content to serve that role, update the presentation’s design and re-run CommonLook Office.
  • The presentation title should be set to “H1” (Heading 1). Subsequent section headings should receive an H2 tag, sub-sections an H3, and so on.

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


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