I heard on the radio yesterday that 12% of students in New South Wales have some form of special needs that requires support from the education system. Which means that in every classroom there;s likely to be three or four students that may need additional support and more accessible resources. Given the commitment by the education system to provide support for these students (here in New South Wales, accessibility is a key consideration with IT, and the policy is to ensure that specifications for the development of new IT systems to include access considerations), I thought I’d write a reminder that the Office applications have a built in Accessibility Checker – so that teachers can quickly check that documents they are publishing are accessible – and make simple changes to ensure that all of their students can access teaching resources, homework assignments etc

Word 2010, Excel 2010, and PowerPoint 2010 all include the Accessibility Checker. By finding areas that might be challenging for users with disabilities to view or use, and by providing a task pane to review those areas, Accessibility Checker can help fix potential problems with content before it’s shared. (It’s in the File Menu, under ‘Info’)

If Accessibility Checker finds an issue, the task pane identifies why the content might be inaccessible. It also classifies the identified issue as an error, a warning, or a tip.

  • imageError: Content that makes a file very difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to understand

  • Warning: Content that in most, but not all, cases makes a file difficult for people with disabilities to understand.

  • Tip: Content that people with disabilities can understand but that could be better organized or presented in a way that would maximize their experience.

After each issues is selected, you then see instructions on how to repair or revise it.

Learn MoreRead more about the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker.

For more detail read the
complete listing of the issues addressed by Accessibility Checker