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Accessibility @ Boston College

Accessible Documents

Google docs and Microsoft Word

Creating Accessible Documents

By following a few simple guidelines you can ensure that you are creating more accessibile documents.

1. Use Headings

Use headings to create a hierarchical document structure. The image on the left shows the headings menu in Google docs. The image on the right shows a sample of how a document should be structured using headings. Similar functionality exists in MS Word.

Google docs heading menu
Google docs heading menu
Google doc example of headings
Google doc example of headings
2. Use Alternative Text

Use Alternative Text for images. In Google Docs and in Word there is the capability to add descriptive text for images. This text is read by screen readers so visually impaired visitors can learn the purpose of the image and how it relates to the page content.



Google docs format menu
In Google Docs, select the image then go to the "Format" menu. ALT text is the last item in the menu.
Alt text dialog in google docs
Alt text dialog in google docs
3. Ensure links are created properly

If you are creating links in your document, be sure that the text makes sense when taken out of context. Screen readers locate links and will read the that is hyperlinked.

Avoid creating links such as:

  • Read more
  • More
  • Click here

For example, the link below is long enough to describe to the web visitor the purpose of the link.

Review the summary document (sample link)

4. General Tips

These tips will benefit all site visitors.

  • Use numbered and bulleted lists to organize page content.
  • Ensure that font size is sufficient, usually around 12 point or higher.
  • Provide sufficient contrast.
  • Don't use color as the only way to convey content.
  • Provide a table of contents, especially for long documents. If you have a good heading structure, creating a table of contents is easy.
  • Use straightforward language.