Accessible Digital Documents
In June 2012, Maine CITE offered a 3-part series of webinars on Accessible Digital Documents. The content of these events was sourced from a series of articles written by John Brandt over the past few years along with some newer resources. Links to all of these resources are provided below. This page provides a one-stop location for all of the resources associated with this webinar series - feel free to bookmark it for later use.
- Video archives of the webinars.
- Handouts and Screen capture videos demonstrating techniques.
- Updated info about Accessible Digital Documents.
- Other resources.
- Captioning resources.
- Session 1 - Word-processed and PDF digital documents: This session, recorded on June 14, 2012, covers the basic techniques for making accessible word-processor documents using the popular office-suite applications and how to convert these to accessible Portable Document Format (PDF) files. This webinar also covered MS-Office (Word), Apple iWork (Pages), LibreOffice (Writer) and Google Docs. (See Update note below)
- Session 2 - Spreadsheet and presentational documents: This session, recorded on June 21, 2012, covers cover the basic techniques for making accessible spreadsheets and presentation documents. MS-Office (Excel and PowerPoint), Apple iWork (Numbers and Keynote), LibreOffice (Calc and Impress) and Google Docs are discussed.
- Session 3 - Multimedia and web-based documents: This session, recorded on June 28, 2012, covers the basic issues for captioning digital video content and how to ensure web-based digital documents - including e-mail - are accessible. Other forms of on-line digital documents, including surveys and polls, are also discussed.
From time to time we will post updates to the information presented in this seminar series. Things in the field are forever changing and we are always learning new things:
- September 24, 2012 - PowerPoint Reading Order: Thanks to Robin A. Jones from the ADA Great Lakes ADA Center for this "tip" which corrects the information in the videos and handouts:
I had incorrectly assumed that when you prepare PowerPoint (PPT) slides the “reading order” of the content – that is the order that a screen reader AT device would read the content – could be seen by looking at the Outline View (as opposed to the Slides View) in the Normal Presentation View Panel on the left side of the screen. To my surprise, I found many of my slides were not in what I would consider the correct reading order. While I could rail on Microsoft and argue that it is a serious bug in the application, I was given a hint that reading order might be an issue with some slides when I ran the MS Office Accessibility Checker and was given a warning to "check reading order." The issue is particularly pronounced in slides where you have created your own layout and not used the standard slide placeholder text/image boxes.
The correct way to check the reading order of the content of PowerPoint slides is found in the MS Office help pages:
"People who cannot view the slide will hear slide text, shapes and content read back in a specific order. If you are using objects that are not part of the slide template, it is important to be sure that they will be read by a screen reader in the order that you intend them to be.Important note: In all of the slides tested, the “Title” of the slide appears to be read last. It is not clear if this is a flaw or intentional. We are investigating further.
To check the order in which your slide content will be read back, do the following:
- On the Home tab, in the Drawing group, click Arrange and then choose Selection Pane. The Selection Pane can also be activated using the Select dropdown menu in the Edit group. (see screen shots - link)
- The Selection Pane lists the objects on the slide. Objects will be read back beginning with the bottom list item and ending with the top list item. Correct any out of order items using the Re-order arrows on the bottom of the pane.
- July 1, 2012 - PDF Conversion and Images: There is apparently a glitch when MS-Word documents that contain images are converted into Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The recommended action is as follows: "If you're using images and working in DOCX format, save it as a DOC format before you save it as a PDF. Otherwise your images will be bunched up at the front in the tags list and won't read out in the right order to a screen reader even if you define the reading order with the Touch Up Reading Order tool." Thank you to Ryan Boudreaux for providing this hint in his TechRepublic article "How to create optimized and accessible PDFs for your website." We will be experimenting further to determine if this is a MS-Office glitch or an Adobe Acrobat Pro glitch. Stay tuned.
- Article 1: Accessible Word Processor Documents - Revised
- Article 2: Accessible Spreadsheet and Presentational Documents
- Article 3: Portable Document Format (PDF) Files and Accessibility
- Article 4: Portable Document Format (PDF) Files and Accessibility - Part II (legacy PDFs and PDF Forms)
- Article 5 - General Considerations about Web-based Communications
- Article 6 - Media Documents
- Article 7 - Web 2.0 Applications and Accessibility
- Article 8 - Social Networking and Accessibility
- Article 9 - A Look at the Future
- Article 10 - Learning Management Systems
- Article 11 - Accessible PDF - Revisited
- Article 12 - Microsoft Office 2010 and Accessibility - revised
- Session 1: Speaker's Notes Handout - Word processor and PDF digital documents -
- Session 2: Speaker's Notes Handout - Spreadsheets and presentational digital documents -
- Session 3: Speaker's Notes Handout - Multimedia and web-based documents -
- How to use the "Accessibility Checker" in Adobe Acrobat Pro X- This video (Flash video- requires plugin) demonstrates how to check a newly created PDF document made from a MS-Word document for accessibility. In the video, the Accessibility Checker finds that the Alternative Text for an image is missing. The demonstration continues showing how to highlight the image in question using the Object Editor and adding the Alternative Description. The demonstration ends with a re-check of the file to assess accessibility.
- How to use the Accessibility Checker in MS-Word 2010 for Windows - This video (Flash video- requires plugin) demonstrates how to use the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker tool available in MS Office for Windows 2010.
Older screen captures
How to insert an image into a MS-Word 2007 document (Requires Flash plugin) [Close captioned]
How to add ALT text to chart in MS-Excel 2007 document (Requires Flash plugin) [No Audio]
How to add ALT text to an image in MS-Powerpoint 2007 document (Requires Flash plugin) [No Audio]
How to add ALT text to an image in Adobe LifeCycle Designer (Requires Flash plugin) [No Audio]
Accessible Digital Documents Resources
The National Center on Disabilities and Access to Education - Goals Project has developed a new set of resources, or “cheat sheets” to help assist individuals in the quest to create accessible content. GOALS currently has four cheat sheets available, addressing the following topics:
- Creating accessible documents in Microsoft Word
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- PDF conversion in Microsoft Word
- Creating accessible PDF documents in Acrobat X
Each resource is a single page, and is intended to be printed.
Keyboard Shortcuts - MS-Office
Many individuals navigate on their computers without a mouse or pointing device. This may be done with a traditional keyboard, a modified or specialized keyboard or through a combination of switches. Here are some resources listing the keyboard combinations to activate various features or navigate through digital documents created in one of the applications in MS-Office:
- Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Outlook 2010 - from Microsoft.
- Keyboard shortcuts MS Excel (2010-Windows) from Wall Street Training. -
- Keyboard shortcuts MS Excel (2011-Mac) from Wall Street Training. -
- Keyboard shortcuts MS Word (2010-Windows) from Wall Street Training. -
- Keyboard shortcuts MS PowerPoint (2010-Windows) from Wall Street Training. -
Web Site Development Resources
These are the resources directly related to Article 5 - General Considerations about Web-based Communications
- WebAIM - Appropriate use of alternative text
- Guild of Accessible Web Designers (GAWDS) - Writing good ALT text (Excellent summary with place for comments)
- Wikipedia - Alternative text for images
- Jim Thatcher - text alternatives for images
- Webcredible - Writing effective ALT text for images
- Web Design Group (WDG) - Use of ALT texts in IMGs (Warning: this is long, complicated, and a bit dated)
- WebAIM - Creating Accessible Tables
- Jim Thatcher - Accessible tables
- Accessify - Accessible Table Builder (actually builds the code for you)
- evolt - Building Accessible Tables(old but interesting)
- Maine CITE - My own example of layout tables and an example of a Data table
- WebAIM - Creating Accessible Forms
- Web Standards Project - Accessible HTML/XHTML Forms: Beginner Level
- Jim Thatcher - Accessible Forms
- HTML Dog - Accessible Forms
- A List Apart - Prettier Accessible Forms (lots of CSS if you are interested)
Web Captioning General Information
- Maine CITE Captioning Video Resources - NEW
- Universal Design in Maine blog
- Media Access Group at WGBH Boston
- National Captioning Institute
- Joe Clark’s website
- Caption it yourself...
- Maine CART and Captioning Services - contact Shari Majeski at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)
- Automatic Synch Technologies
- CC Maker
- Captionate – Flash video
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders
- National Association of the Deaf - When is captioning required?
- Video Caption Corporation
- CPC Home of e-captioning
- SynchriMedia - MovieCaptioner for Mac
- Universal Subtitles (free)
- Auto Captioning on YouTube
- Easy YouTube caption creator (from accessify.com)
- 22 Frames
Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training Resources
Check out the Acrobat Users website as well for training as well as great ideas on making your PDFs accessible.