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, Karlen Communications

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. 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.