Using the Microsoft Accessibility Checkers to Optimize Document Accessibility

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Meadowbrook I/II on Thursday, November 21, 2019.



  • Karen McCall, Senior Advisor, Accessible Document Design, Open Access Technologies

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


The rules for the Microsoft Accessibility Checkers are evolving to reflect WCAG 2.x. This session provides an overview of how to effectively use the Microsoft Accessibility Checkers and identifies some of the issues that might arise if different versions of Office applciaitons are used within an organization or collaborative process.


More of us are using the built-in Accessibility Checkers in Microsoft Word to help us create more accessible doucments. This session provides an overview of the rules that the Accessibility Checkers use, the new features in Office 365 subscription that assist document authors and how those new tools/features might create issues/conflicts with previous versions of the Accessibility Checkers in Office. The types of Errors, Warnings and Tips are covered and how to determine whether thy affect the accessibility of a document. As an automated tool, any accessibility checking functionality starts with a document author understanding how to create an accessible document so that they know how to interpret accessibility results. An important part of a quality assurance process is also understanding the compatibility of the Office Accessibility Checkers with previous versions of Office.


  1. The rules the Office Accessibility Checkers are using
  2. Which rules apply to which applications
  3. Developing a strategy for using the Office Accessibility Checkers

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Karen McCall

Karen McCall, M.Ed., Senior Advisor, Open Access Technologies, has been providing a leadership role in the field of accessible document design and training on how to make digital content accessible for people with disabilities for over 20 years. She has written several books on this topic based on her experience making other people’s documents accessible to conform to laws in Canada, the US and internationally. Karen’s ground-breaking book on creating and working with tagged PDF documents, first published in 2005 is now in its fourth edition. Her books on creating accessible Word and PowerPoint content were first published in 2005 and have evolved into both updated books and self-paced online courses. She is a vocal advocate for a global inclusive education standard and the rights of people with disabilities.