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Accessible Digital Documents
Webinar Series

Quill pen and paperIn 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


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:

  • December 15, 2013 - Videos Back on line. Thanks to the hard work by the University of Maine System staff and the good folks at Adobe, all of the training videos are back on line!
  • 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.

    To check the order in which your slide content will be read back, do the following:
    1. 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)
    2. 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.
    In the future, if you put content only in slide placeholder text boxes you can be confident information will be read back correctly."
    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.

Accessible Documents Articles

Handouts and Presentation Screencaptures

Older screen captures

Shockwave/Flash IconHow to insert an image into a MS-Word 2007 document (Requires Flash plugin) [Close captioned]

Shockwave/Flash IconHow to add ALT text to chart in MS-Excel 2007 document (Requires Flash plugin) [No Audio]

Shockwave/Flash IconHow to add ALT text to an image in MS-Powerpoint 2007 document (Requires Flash plugin) [No Audio]

Shockwave/Flash IconHow to add ALT text to an image in Adobe LifeCycle Designer (Requires Flash plugin) [No Audio]


Other Resources

Accessible Digital Documents Resources

Goals Project: Gaining Online Accessible Learning through Self-StudyThe 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:

Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University

  • Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project - The Accessible Digital Office Documents (ADOD) Assessment Framework is a mechanism, based primarily on the WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 1.0 Recommendations of the W3C, for assessing various aspects of office documents and office applications related to accessibility.

Web Site Development Resources






Web Captioning General Information
Captioning Services
Captioning Software

Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training Resources

Accessibility and Adobe Acrobat has lots of resources including a link to the Adobe Accessibility Blog.

Check out the Acrobat Users website as well for training as well as great ideas on making your PDFs accessible.


Return to Maine CITE Accessible Web Design page

Revised: 08/12/2014