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Check Accessibility in Word – Instructions

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Check Accessibility in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user fixing an accessibility error in the “Accessibility” task pane in Word.

Check Accessibility in Word: Overview

            You can check accessibility in Word documents by using the accessibility checker tool. This tool scans your document and opens the “Accessibility” task pane. This task pane will display “Errors,” “Warnings” and “Tips” on what document content may be difficult to access for someone with a disability.

How to Manually Check Accessibility in Word

            To check accessibility in Word, click the “Review” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Check Accessibility” button in the “Accessibility” button group to open the “Accessibility” task pane. Alternatively, to open it if you are running an older version of Word, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon to open the Backstage view. Then click the “Info” command at the left side of the Backstage view. Then click the “Check for Issues” drop-down button in the “Inspect Document” area to the right. Then choose the “Check Accessibility” command from the drop-down to open the “Accessibility” task pane.

            In the “Accessibility” task pane, a list of “Errors” and/or “Warnings” may appear. If these appear, these indicate serious issues that will most likely cause problems for people with disabilities. Below the list of “Errors” and “Warnings,” you may also see a list of “Tips.” These are issues that could cause problems but aren’t as serious as the issues in the “Errors” or “Warnings” list.

Check Accessibility in Word - Instructions: A picture of a user fixing an accessibility error in the “Accessibility” task pane in Word.

Check Accessibility in Word – Instructions: A picture of a user fixing an accessibility error in the “Accessibility” task pane in Word.

            You can click any collapsible and expandable issue to see the specific document content causing the issue below it. You can then click an issue to select it in the document, so you can fix it. For each item selected, you can see what to fix and how to fix it in the “Why Fix:” and “Steps To Fix” sections of the “Additional Information” list at the bottom of the task pane. You can also click the drop-down arrow that appears at the right end of the selected issue within the “Accessibility Checker” pane to show a drop-down menu of commands that you can select to help you quickly fix the issue with the selected content. The choices vary, based on the issue and the content. However, you can select a choice from this drop-down menu to open the related fix for the content and make your corrections, as needed.

            As you make the corrections, the selected items are removed from that section of the task pane. To close the “Accessibility Checker” task pane when you finish correcting these issues, click the “X” button in the upper-right corner of the “Accessibility Checker” task pane.

How to Automatically Check Accessibility in Word

            Word 2019 and Word for Office 365 also let you run the accessibility checker as a background tool so you can constantly check document content as you create it. When enabled, a new “Accessibility” status appears within the Status Bar, so you can see if you have any accessibility issues that arise as you create the document. You can click this status at any time to easily open the “Accessibility” pane.

            An easy way to enable the accessibility checker as you work is to check the “Keep accessibility checker running while I work” checkbox within the “Accessibility” task pane. Alternatively, to enable running the accessibility checker as you work in the “Word Options” dialog box, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon. Then click the “Options” command at the left side of the Backstage view to open the “Word Options” dialog box. Then select the “Ease of Access” category at the left side of the “Word Options” dialog box. Under the “Make your document accessible to others” category to the right, check the “Keep accessibility checker running while I work” checkbox. Then click the “OK” button in the “Word Options” dialog box to apply the change.

Check Accessibility in Word: Instructions

Instructions on How to Manually Check Accessibility in Word

  1. To manually check accessibility in Word, click the “Review” tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Then click the “Check Accessibility” button in the “Accessibility” button group to open the “Accessibility” task pane.
  3. Alternatively, to manually check accessibility in Word if you are running an older version of Word, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon to open the Backstage view.
  4. Then click the “Info” command at the left side of the Backstage view.
  5. Then click the “Check for Issues” drop-down button in the “Inspect Document” area to the right.
  6. Then choose the “Check Accessibility” command from the drop-down to open the “Accessibility” task pane.
  7. In the “Accessibility” task pane, a list of “Errors” and/or “Warnings” may appear.
  8. If these appear, these indicate serious issues that will most likely cause problems for people with disabilities.
  9. Below the list of “Errors” and “Warnings,” you may also see a list of “Tips.” These are issues that could cause problems but aren’t as serious as the issues in the “Errors” or “Warnings” list.
  10. You can click any collapsible and expandable issue to see the specific document content causing the issue below it.
  11. You can then click an issue to select it in the document, so you can fix it.
  12. For each item selected, you can see what to fix and how to fix it in the “Why Fix:” and “Steps To Fix” sections of the “Additional Information” list at the bottom of the task pane.
  13. To show a drop-down menu of commands that you can select to help you quickly fix the issue with the selected content, click the drop-down arrow that appears at the right end of the selected issue within the “Accessibility Checker” pane.
  14. The choices vary, based on the issue and the content.
  15. However, you can select a choice from this drop-down menu to open the related fix for the content and make your corrections, as needed.
  16. As you make the corrections, the selected items are removed from that section of the task pane.
  17. To close the “Accessibility Checker” task pane when you finish correcting these issues, click the “X” button in the upper-right corner of the “Accessibility Checker” task pane.

Instructions on How to Automatically Check Accessibility in Word

  1. Word 2019 and Word for Office 365 also let you run the accessibility checker as a background tool so you can constantly check document content as you create it.
  2. When enabled, a new “Accessibility” status appears within the Status Bar, so you can see if you have any accessibility issues that arise as you create the document.
  3. You can click this status at any time to easily open the “Accessibility” pane.
  4. To enable the accessibility checker as you work if using Word 2019 or Word for Office 365, click the “Review” tab in the Ribbon.
  5. Then click the “Check Accessibility” button in the “Accessibility” button group to open the “Accessibility” task pane.
  6. Then check the “Keep accessibility checker running while I work” checkbox within the “Accessibility” task pane.
  7. Alternatively, to enable running the accessibility checker as you work in Word 2019 or Word for Office 365 by using the “Word Options” dialog box, click the “File” tab in the Ribbon.
  8. Then click the “Options” command at the left side of the Backstage view to open the “Word Options” dialog box.
  9. Then select the “Ease of Access” category at the left side of the “Word Options” dialog box.
  10. Under the “Make your document accessible to others” category to the right, check the “Keep accessibility checker running while I work” checkbox.
  11. Then click the “OK” button in the “Word Options” dialog box to apply the change.

Check Accessibility in Word: Video Lesson

            The following video lesson, titled “Checking Accessibility,” shows how to check accessibility in Word. This video lesson is from our complete Word tutorial, titled “Mastering Word Made Easy v.2019 and 365.”

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