Using a heading structure is one of the most important steps in making Word documents accessible. Both screenreader users and sighted users (from the Navigation pane) can use headings to navigate lengthy documents. Headings should be used in sequential order (e.g. Heading 1 for chapter titles, Heading 2 for sub-chapters, etc.).
Headings can be added by highlighting the desired text and selecting the heading the Home tab > Styles. With the text selected, the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + 1 for Heading 1, Ctrl + Alt + 2 for Heading 2 and so on, can also be used.
Heading styles are determined by the style set. You can easily apply a different design to your document:
With a heading structure is in place, a Table of Contents can be added which will provide a good way to navigate long documents.
Page numbers and page count will complement a Table of Contents and help users find where they are in the document, particularly in long documents.
Bulleted and numbered lists have a structure that screen readers users can navigate using keyboard shortcuts. Lists can be created from the Paragraph section in the Home tab. Select a Bullets or Numbering list to insert. To apply a Multilevel list, press the Tab key to indent any sub-points or use the Decrease/Increase indent to promote or demote the hierarchy of text.
ScreenTips are small containers of descriptive text that appear when you hover your cursor over an element – this can include buttons, commands, images, or hyperlinks. ScreenTips can give additional information about elements, which can help users scan content more easily and quickly.
To add ScreenTips:
An important feature of navigable documents are properly formatted references and citations in your text. This helps link information together in a navigable way. This will assist keyboard and screen reader users.
Equations must be added in the maths environment available in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, to ensure that mathematical characters and symbols accessible to screen readers.
There are three ways to add an equation:
Equations can be typed in using Unicode or LaTex (Word only) input and displayed in Professional 2-dimensional form or Linear 1-dimensional form.
Please refer to Microsoft’s guidance on writing equations or formulas and linear format equations using UnicodeMath and LaTeX in Word.