Accessible Digital Documents

NOTE: Information about the June 2012 Accessible Digital Documents webinar series

This resource provides information about common office documents and accessibility. It was developed as a supplement to our Accessible Web Design page when we realized that much (if not most) of what gets posted on the web either starts out as a simple document, created by a word processor or other office suite product, and is then converted into a web page, PDF or other web-based resource. Often in this conversion process, accessibility is not taken into consideration and the final result is a web document that cannot be used by all. This is particularly problematic in large organizations where there are many content producers. It is important for content producers - especially those creating content that will be sent out to the public - to ensure their document are accessible to all.

We are also concerned that office documents that are used "in house" or shared with others as attachments, need to be accessible to all.

To this end, we have created this resource which provides information and resources to help you create accessible documents.

We begin with a series of articles (from 2007 - 2010) about creating accessible documents originally written for the Maine State Office of Technology (OIT). In 2011, we began the process of revising the articles to bring them up to date. You will notice that some articles have been removed completely.

All of the articles are here as a resource to support anyone interested in learning more about this topic. As the technologies change, and we learn more about accessible documents, we will post that information here as well on the jebswebs blog.

Accessible Documents Articles


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.

Accessible Web Development Resources

These are the resources directly related to Article 5 - General Considerations about Web-based Communications






Captioning - Web Captioning General Information


Captioning Services

Captioning Software

Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training Resources

These resources are found on the Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training page. If you have difficulty viewing the videos below, use this link to go to the source page.

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

Additional Adobe Training Documents

There are a number of additional training guides and resources on this Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Training resource page. I recommend visiting that site and downloading these for your reference.


Return to Maine CITE Accessible Web Design page

Revised: 10/15/2014