Living with Sight Loss Microsoft Office Productivity

How to Make Documents Accessible

We send and receive hundreds of documents a week, but are they accessible to the very people we want to consume them? One in five people have a disability; therefore, it is probable that some recipients will have difficulty in accessing our content if it isn’t accessible. So how do we make documents accessible?

The chances are that the very people struggling to access your email will not inform you. They will find a way around it or just ignore it. This is because they face these challenges tens, if not hundreds, of times per day, and educating everyone they encounter is exhausting. We have the tools at our fingertips to make documents accessible and minimise the barriers for the recipients to consume them.

Microsoft 365 Making Documents Accessible

Microsoft 365 users can use the Accessibility Checker in Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to identify and fix accessibility issues in their content while they work. In Outlook, the Accessibility Checker runs automatically while composing an email and users can select when to receive accessibility notifications. In Word, Excel, and PowerPoint users can keep the Accessibility Checker running while they work and access it from the status bar.

While additional steps will be needed to make your content accessible to begin with, over time you will learn what is and isn’t accessible. It will become second nature to include Alt-Text for images, and other slight changes that make your document accessible, and the effort will reduce to an unnoticeable level.

Follow Microsoft’s Guide on how to Check accessibility while you work in Office apps – Microsoft Support  

Tell me what you think in the comments below or on X @timdixon82

By Tim Dixon

Tim Dixon has worked in IT for over 20 years, specifically within the Testing Inspection and Certification industry. Tim has Cone Dystrophy, a progressive sight loss condition that impacts his central vision, colour perception and makes him sensitive to light. He likes to share his experience of life and how he navigates the abyss of uncertainty.

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