Strategies for using the Accessibility Checker in Word (double session)

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Virtual D on Friday, November 13, 2020.



  • Karen McCall, Senior Advisor, Accessible Document Design, Karlen Communications

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 2-hr
  • Format: Bring-your-own Device Workshop: Office 365 for Windows
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


This demonstration and lab guides you through elements of your documents that the accessibility checker checks and what it doesn’t. Learn how to develop a checklist of automated and manual accessibility checkpoints.


The Accessibility Checker in word has gone through several iterations since being introduced in Word 2007. There are things it now checks for like automatically generated Alt text for images and things it doesn’t check for any more like headings including sequential Headings. This demonstration and lab session guides you through the process of creating a usable checklist of automated and manual checkpoints to ensure that your Word documents are optimized for accessibility. This type of strategy can provide a path for training others on integrating an automated tool and the elements of an accessible document that one needs to know as part of good document design.


  1. Learn what the Accessibility Checker in Word checks for
  2. Learn what the Accessibility Checker in Word used to check for and how to create a QA process
  3. Incorporate best practices in accessible document design into QA with support from Accessibility Checker

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Karen McCall

Karen McCall, M.Ed. has been working in the field of accessible document design since 1999. She began her career in website accessibility and auditing and moved to accessible Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents in 2004. Karen is:

A Canadian delegate of the ISO 14289 or PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) committee and has been for a number of years. A Canadian delegate to the ISO 32000 PDF committee. A Microsoft MVP for Word (Most Valued Professional) since 2009. A Microsoft Accessibility MVP since 2017 when this category of MVP was established.

Karen has written several books on the topic of accessible document design for Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents as well as smaller publications with specific techniques for working with Office applications if you are using adaptive technology and/or the keyboard.

Karen is the president of Karlen Communications.