Authoring Techniques for Accessible Office Documents: Word Processing Applications

Google Docs

Google Docs lacks several features that enable accessible office document authoring, most notably, the ability to create complex accessible tables and a built-in accessibility checker.

While there is no accessibility checking feature built into Google Docs, you can install a third-party add-on called Grackle Docs. Grackle is a third-party plug-in that includes an accessibility checker along with other features that enhance accessibility on Google Docs (see Technique 11).

Due to the nature of Google Docs, some accessibility features, such as tables, are only fully accessible when exporting the document to another format, like a PDF file.

What’s an “Office Document”?

You should use these techniques when you are using Google Docs to create documents that are:

  • Intended to be used by people (i.e., not computer code),
  • Text-based (i.e., not simply images, although they may contain images),
  • Fully printable (i.e., where dynamic features are limited to automatic page numbering, table of contents, etc. and do not include audio, video, or embedded interactivity),
  • Self-contained (i.e., without hyperlinks to other documents, unlike web content), and
  • Typical of office-style workflows (i.e., reports, letters, memos, budgets, presentations, etc.).

If you are creating forms, web pages, applications, or other dynamic and/or interactive content, these techniques will still be useful to you, but you should also consult the W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) because these are specifically designed to provide guidance for highly dynamic and/or interactive content.

File Formats

Google Docs does not have a default file format as it is a web-based authoring tool. Google Docs offers a number of word processor and web format saving options. Most of these have not been checked for accessibility, but some information and/or instructions are available for the following formats in Technique 12:

  • Microsoft Word (.docx)
  • OpenDocument Format (.odt)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)
  • PDF (.pdf)
  • Plain Text (.txt)
  • Web Page (.html, zipped)
  • EPUB Publication (.epub)

Document Conventions

We have tried to formulate these techniques so that they are useful to all authors, regardless of whether they use a mouse. However, for clarity there are several instances where mouse-only language is used. Below are the mouse-only terms and their keyboard alternatives:

  • *Right-click: To right-click with the keyboard, select the object using the Shift+Arrow keys and then press either (1) the “Right-Click” key (some keyboard have this to the right of the spacebar) or Shift+F10.

Disclaimer and Testing Details:

Following these techniques will increase the accessibility of your documents, but it does not guarantee accessibility to any specific disability groups. In cases where more certainty is required, it is recommended that you test the office documents with end users with disabilities, including screen reader users. Files are easily saved as various file formats (see Technique 12).

Editor’s note: Since the content of this page has been heavily updated from the original article (Authoring Techniques for Accessible Office Documents: Google docs: Documents), the usual editor’s notes that flag new content will be omitted. The application-specific steps and screenshots were updated in December 2019.

Google Docs lacks support for some accessibility features, such as table headers that repeat. With this in mind, be cautious of templates available in the Google Docs template gallery and be sure that they comply the techniques discussed here.

All office documents start with a template, which can be as simple as a blank standard-sized page or as complex as a nearly complete document with text, graphics and other content. For example, a “Meeting Minutes” template might include headings for information relevant to a business meeting, such as “Actions” above a table with rows to denote time and columns for actions of the meeting. Because templates provide the starting-point for so many documents, accessibility is critical. If you are unsure whether a template is accessible, you should check a sample document produced when the template is used (see Technique 11).

Google Docs’s default template for new documents is a blank page. The basic installation also includes a wide variety of templates ranging from blank business letters and memos to blank business cards and schedules. These are all accessible by virtue of being blank. It is possible to create your own templates from scratch in Google Docs. As well, you can edit and modify the existing templates, ensuring their accessibility as you do so and saving them as a new template.

Curb Cuts: Updating templates is also a good opportunity to improve document consistency, copy editing, and branding.

To select a template

  1.  Go to Google Docs.
  2. At the top right, click on Template Gallery.
    Image demonstrates the location of the Template gallery on the Google Docs home page.
  3. Select a template.
  4. A copy of the template will open.

To create an accessible template

  1. Create a new document (from the default template or from an existing template).
    Note: If creating a template from an existing document, go to FileMake a copy. Type a name and choose where to save it, then, click Ok.
  2. Rename your document. Be sure to indicate that the document is an accessible template by using terms such as “accessible” (e.g., “Accessible Memo Template”). This will improve its searchability and promote its use as an accessible template.
  3. Ensure that you follow techniques in this document. You may also check the accessibility (see Technique 11).

To share your accessible template as a new document

You can share your accessible template, but it may be more useful to share the file as copy that other users can add to their Google Drive.

  1. Go to the address bar change the end of the URL before sending it.
  2. Replace “edit” at the end of the URL with “copy”.
    For example:
    Before: http://docs.google.com/document/d/12345678/edit
    After: http://docs.google.com/document/d/12345678/copy
  3. Send the modified copy link.
  4. When the recipient follows the modified copy link, they’re instructed to click on Make a copy.Image demonstrates the Copy Document message that appears when a recipient follows your modified copy link of your document's address.
  5. They can then work on a copy of the accessible template.

For more information, see the resources below:

At this time (December 2019), Google Docs does not offer an explicit language selection mechanism to indicate the natural language of your document or changes in natural language at any point within the content. Google Docs defaults the natural language to the language selected for your Google Account. Users can change your typing language in Google Docs (see Google: Change Your Typing Language).

When exporting to other document formats, there is no guarantee that the natural language of your Google Account will be indicated as the natural language of your document. In order for assistive technologies (e.g., screen readers) to be able to present your document accurately, it is important to indicate the natural language of the document. If a different natural language is used for a paragraph or selected text, this also needs to be clearly indicated.

Use Grackle Docs to specify document language

While Google Docs does not offer an explicit language selection mechanism, users can set the document language when using the Grackle Docs plugin (see Technique 11). Using Grackle, users can set document properties including document title and document language. This is mainly needed if using Grackle to export to other file formats, like PDF.

Google Docs offers a mechanism for adding alternative text to images and objects where it can be readily accessed by screen reader users. While you can add alt text, you will need to ensure that you provide the longer descriptions in the body of the document, near the images and objects. While this solution is not optimal for screen reader users and will complicate your own accessibility testing, it is necessary until long descriptions are supported.

When using images or other graphical objects, such as charts and graphs, it is important to ensure that the information you intend to convey by the image is also conveyed to people who cannot see the image. This can be accomplished by adding concise alternative text to each image. If an image is too complicated to concisely describe in the alternative text alone (artwork, flowcharts, etc.), provide a short text alternative and a longer description as well.

Tips for writing alternative text

  • Try to answer the question “what information is the image conveying?”
  • If the image does not convey any useful information, leave the alternative text blank
  • If the image contains meaningful text, ensure all of the text is replicated
  • Alternative text should be fairly short, usually a sentence or less and rarely more than two sentences
  • If more description is required (e.g., for a chart or graph), provide a short description in the alternative text (e.g., a summary of the trend) and more detail in the long description, see below
  • Test by having others review the document with the images replaced by the alternative text

Tips for writing longer descriptions

  • Long descriptions should be used when text alternatives (see above) are insufficient to answer the question “what information is the image conveying?”
  • In some situations, the information being conveyed will be how an image looks (e.g., an artwork, architectural detail, etc.). In these cases, try to describe the image without making too many of your own assumptions.
  • One approach is to imagine you are describing the image to a person over the phone
  • Ensure that you still provide concise alternative text to help readers decide if they are interested in the longer description
  • Alternatively, you can include the same information conveyed by the image within the body of the document, providing the images as an alternate to the text. In that case, you do not have to provide alternate text within the image.

To add alternative text to images and graphical objects

  1. Right-click* on the image.
  2. Select Alt Text from the contextual menu.
    : Image demonstrates the location of the Alt text function in the right-click context menu.
  3. Add your alt text to the Description field.
    Image demonstrates the Alt Text pop-up menu with focus on the Description field.
  4. Press OK to saveNote: Enter a description in the Title field will show a pop-up tooltip when users hover over the image with their mouse.  However, it is recommended to put the image description in the Description field.

When images and objects are inserted into Google Docs they default to being positioned “inline” with the text. There is also the option to attach images and objects to a fixed position on the page. A “floating” object keeps its position relative to the page, while text flows around it. As content moves up or down on the page, the object stays where it was placed. To ensure that images and objects remain with the text that references it, always position it as “inline” with the text at the end of the in-text reference. Similarly, avoid placing drawing objects directly into the document (e.g., as borders, to create a diagram). Instead, create borders with page layout tools and insert complete graphical objects.

Any document longer than a few paragraphs could benefit from adding structure to make content easier for readers to understand. One of the simplest ways to do this is to use actual headings (or “true headings”) to create logical divisions between paragraphs. Using actual headings means applying a built-in heading style — rather than just formatting content with bolded, enlarged, or centered text. Built-in heading styles are structural elements that communicate order and levels, which provide a meaningful sequence to users of assistive technologies.

Curb Cuts: Using actual headings provides several important benefits:

  • Headings are used by Google Docs to auto-generate a table of contents (see Technique 7.5: Use a Table of Contents).
  • Headings are used by the Outline function in Google Docs to create a navigation pane, especially helpful for long documents (see Google: Use document outlines); and you can update all of the headings of a particular type at once, which keeps them consistent.

Tips for headings

  • Use the default headings styles provided (“Heading “, “Heading 2”, …, “Heading 9”).
  • Six (6) levels of headings are supported.
  • Nest headings properly (e.g., the sub-headings of a “Heading 1” are “Heading 2”, etc.). Do not skip headings.
  • If you plan to create a Word document that will have an automatically generated table of contents, remember that text marked with “Heading 1” will appear in the table of contents. Therefore, you may want to mark the top-level title of the document, which typically wouldn’t be included in the document’s table of contents, with the “Title” style. On the other hand, if you plan to convert to HTML, the main title is usually marked with a “Heading 1” which will be mapped to an <h1> HTML element.

To apply headings from the Format menu

  1. Highlight the text that you want to make into a navigational heading.
  2. Go to menu item: Format > Paragraph Styles.
  3. Select the desired heading you would like to apply to the text.

For details on how to modify a heading or text style, see Google: Set and change a default style.

To apply headings using the Heading drop-down menu

  1. Highlight the text that you want to make into a navigational heading.
  2. Go to the Styles drop-down menu. Image demonstrates the location of the Styles drop-down menu on the toolbar.
  3. Select the desired heading you would like to apply to the text.
    Image demonstrates the heading styles available when the Styles drop-down menu is expanded.

To apply headings using keyboard shortcuts

  1. Highlight the text that you want to make into a navigational heading
  2. Select Ctrl+Alt+1 (for Heading 1),Ctrl+Alt+2 (for Heading 2), etc.

For a complete listing of keyboard shortcuts, see Google: Keyboard shortcuts for Google Docs.

As with actual or “true” headings (see Technique 5), you should attempt to make use of the named styles that are included with the office application (e.g., “emphasis”, “caption”, etc.) before creating your own styles or using the character formatting tools directly. Named styles help your readers understand why something was formatted in a given way, which is especially helpful when there are multiple reasons for the same formatting (e.g., it is common to use italics for emphasis, Latin terms and species names). For more information on formatting using named styles, see Technique 9. Note: While office application suites support headings in much the same way, the named styles often differ.

To use default named styles

  1. Default named styles can be applied the same way as headings (see Technique 5).

7.1 Tables

At this time, Google Docs does not offer a mechanism that allows you to select and indicate headings for rows and columns. Since it is not possible to create complex tables in Google Docs that are accessible, avoid creating complex tables since table headers cannot be designated. 

If you use the Grackle Docs add-on, tables can be given structure and table headings can be indicated. While these fixes won’t be useful for making tables more accessible in Google Docs, it does allow you to export the document into another format with appropriate table tags intact. For more on Grackle Docs, see Technique 11

When using tables, it is important to ensure that they are clear and appropriately structured. This helps all users to better understand the information in the table and allows assistive technologies (e.g., screen readers) to provide context so that the information within the table can be conveyed in a meaningful way.

Since Google Docs does not provide a feature to repeat header rows at the top of each page, you would need to break your table into separate tables. Then, you would manually add a row at the top of the table and copy/paste header info at the top of each page. For detailed instructions on how to work with tables in Google Docs, see Google: Add and edit Tables.

Tips for tables

  • Only use tables for tabular information, not for formatting, such as to position columns.
  • Use “real tables” rather than text formatted to look like tables using the TAB key or space bar. These will not be recognized by assistive technology.
  • Keep tables simple by avoiding merged cells and dividing complex data sets into separate smaller tables, where possible.
  • If tables split across pages, set the header to show at the top of each page. Also set the table to break between rows instead of in the middle of rows.
  • Create a text summary of the essential table contents. Any abbreviations used should be explained in the summary.
  • Table captions or descriptions should answer the question “what is the table’s purpose and how is it organized?” (e.g., “A sample order form with separate columns for the item name, price and quantity”).
  • Table cells should be marked as table headers when they serve as labels to help interpret the other cells in the table.
  • Table header cell labels should be concise and clear.
  • Ensure the table is not “floating” on the page (see Technique 4).

7.2 Lists

When you create lists, it is important to format them as “real lists”. Otherwise, assistive technologies will interpret your list as a series of short separate paragraphs instead of a coherent list of related items.

To create an ordered or unordered list

  1. Go to menu item: Format > List styles.
  2. Select the list style you want to use.

7.3 Columns

Use Columns feature for placing text in columns. Note: Because columns can be a challenge for users of some assistive technologies, consider whether a column layout is really necessary.

7.4 Page Breaks

Start a new page by inserting a page break (Windows: CTRL + Enter; Mac: ⌘ + Enter) instead of repeated hard returns.

7.5 Use a Table of Contents

Creating an index or table of contents to outline office-document content can provide a means of navigating the meaningful sequence of content. You can see your document’s structure with a table of contents. Each item in the table of contents links to your document’s headings.

The best way to generate a table of contents is after applying the predefined heading styles, such as “Heading 1” as described above, to the headings that you want to include in your table of contents. After you apply these styles, you can then create a table of contents.

To insert a Table of Contents

  1. Position cursor where you would like to place the table within your document.
  2. Go to menu item: Insert > Table of contents.

To update a Table of Contents

  1. Click within the table.
  2. Select the Refresh button. Image demonstrates the Refresh button that allows you to automatically update the table of contents.

For more details, see: Google: How to add or change a table of contents.

7.6 Use Page Numbering

In Google Docs, you can add page numbers and the number of total pages to a document.

Numbering the pages of your document helps those reading and editing your document effectively navigate and reference its content. For users of assistive technologies, it provides a valuable point of reference within the document.

To insert page numbers

  1. In the top left, select Insert and then Header & page number.
  2. Then choose:
    Page number: Choose where you want the page numbers to go, and whether you want the first page to be skipped.
    Page count: The page count will be added wherever your cursor is placed in the document.
  3. The page numbers or page count will be added automatically.

For more details, see Google: Add or remove headers, footers and page numbers.

7.7 Document Title

At this time, Google Docs makes use of a single document name. Within Google Docs, this serves well as a title, but when exporting to ODT, the document name is used to form the file name and the ODT “Title” properties field is left blank. Note: In case the document is ever converted into HTML, it should be given a descriptive and meaningful title.

If using third-party add-on Grackle Docs, you can add a document title. After updating this setting, the document title  will be preserved in the document’s metadata when exporting to PDF using Grackle. It is one of the first checks that appears in the Grackle Docs sidebar after launching (see Technique 11).

To change the file name of the current document

  1. Go to menu item: File > Rename.
  2. In the Rename Document dialog, enter a new document name.
  3. Click OK.

Charts can be used to make data more understandable for some audiences. However, it is important to ensure that your chart is as accessible as possible to all members of your audience. All basic accessibility considerations that are applied to the rest of your document must also be applied to your charts and the elements within your charts. For example, use shape and color, rather than color alone, to convey information. As well, some further steps should be taken to ensure that the contents are your chart are appropriate labeled to give users reference points that will help them to correctly interpret the information.

Other Chart Considerations

  • When creating line charts, use the formatting options to create different types of dotted lines to facilitate legibility for users who are color blind
  • When creating bar charts, it is helpful to apply textures rather than color to differentiate the bars
  • Change the default colors to a color safe or gray-scale palette
  • Use the formatting options to change predefined colors, ensuring that they align with sufficient contrast requirements (see Technique 9.2)
Curb Cuts: If the chart data is also provided in an appendix, it will be easier for all users to make use of the data.

To add a chart to Google Docs

Charts that you create in Google Sheets can be linked to a Google Docs document.

  1. Go to InsertChart.
  2. Select the type of chart you want to add.
  3. When you add a new chart, it will link to a new Google Sheet. To update the the data in the chart, update the numbers in the linked Google Sheet.

For more details, see the following:

9.1 Format of Text

When formatting text, especially when the text is likely to printed, try to:

  • Use font sizes between 12 and 18 points for body text.
  • Use fonts of normal weight, rather than bold or light weight fonts. If you do choose to use bold fonts for emphasis, use them sparingly.
  • Use standard fonts with clear spacing and easily recognized upper and lower case characters. Sans serif fonts (e.g., Arial, Verdana) may sometimes be easier to read than serif fonts (e.g., Times New Roman, Garamond).
  • Avoid large amounts of text set all in caps, italic or underlined.
  • Use normal or expanded character spacing, rather than condensed spacing.
  • Avoid animated or scrolling text.

But can’t users just zoom in? Office applications do typically include accessibility features such as the ability to magnify documents and support for high contrast modes. However, because printing is an important aspect of many workflows and changing font sizes directly will change documents details such the pagination, the layout of tables, etc., it is best practice to always format text for a reasonable degree of accessibility.

9.2 Use Sufficient Contrast

The visual presentation of text and images of text should have a contrast ration of at least 4.5:1. To help you determine the contrast, here are some examples on a white background:

  • Very good contrast (Foreground=black, Background=white, Ratio=21:1)
  • Acceptable contrast (Foreground=#767676, Background=white, Ratio=4.54:1)
  • Unacceptable contrast (Foreground=#AAAAAA, Background=white, Ratio=2.32:1)

Also, always use a single solid color for a text background rather than a pattern. In order to determine whether the colors in your document have sufficient contrast, you can consult an online contrast checker, such as:

9.3 Avoid Using Color Alone

Color should not be used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. In order to spot where color might be the only visual means of conveying information, you can create a screenshot of the document and then view it with online gray-scale converting tools, such as:

  • GrayBit v2.0: Grayscale Conversion Contrast Accessibility Tool

Editor’s note: GrayBit v2.0 is no longer available. However, multiple tools can be found online: Google Search: gray-scale conversion tool.

9.4 Avoid Relying on Sensory Characteristics

The instructions provided for understanding and operating content should not rely solely on sensory characteristics such as the color or shape of content elements. Here are two examples:

  • Do not track changes by simply changing the color of text you have edited and noting the color. Instead use Google Docs’s review functionality features to track changes, such as the revision history and TextFlow mechanisms.
  • Do not distinguish between images by referring to their appearance (e.g., “the bigger one”). Instead, label each image with a figure number and use that for references.

9.5 Avoid Using Images of Text

Before you use an image to control the presentation of text (e.g., to ensure a certain font or color combination), consider whether you can achieve the same result by styling “real text”. If this is not possible, as with logos containing stylized text, make sure to provide alternative text for the image following the techniques noted in Technique 3.

10.1 Write Clearly

By taking the time to design your content in a consistent way, it will be easier to access, navigate, and interpret for all users:

  • Whenever possible, write clearly with short sentences.
  • Introduce acronyms and spell out abbreviations.
  • Avoid making the document too “busy” by using lots of whitespace and by avoiding too many different colors, fonts and images.
  • If content is repeated on multiple pages within a document or within a set of documents (e.g., headings, footings, etc.), it should occur consistently each time it is repeated.

10.2 Provide Context for Hyperlinks

Hyperlink text in your document should be meaningful when read out of context. To be an effective navigation aid, the link text should describe the destination of the link.

Consider the experience of screen reader users: Generally, screen readers generate a list of links, and screen reader users navigate this list alphabetically. Hyperlink text such as “click here” or “more” is meaningless in this context.

In order to be useful to someone using a screen reader, ensure that hyperlink text is self-describing and meaningful on its own.

To add hyperlinks with meaningful text

  1. Go to menu item: Insert > Link. Alternately, you can select the text you’d like to add a link to and press Ctrl+K (or Cmd+K on Macs).
  2. In the pop-up box, enter descriptive text in the Text display box.
  3. Enter the link address in the Link.
  4. Select Apply.
    Image demonstrates location of Text to display box and Link address box.

In order to get some indication of the accessibility of your document or template (see Technique 1), then you may consider saving the file into HTML or PDF in order to perform an accessibility check in one of those formats, as described below.

While there is no accessibility checking feature built into Google Docs, you can install a third-party add-on called Grackle Docs.

Grackle Docs

What is Grackle Docs? Grackle Docs is a third-party add-on that runs on documents created in Google Docs. It helps with checking and improving the digital accessibility of your document. Due to the nature of Google Docs, some accessibility features, such as tables, are only fully accessible when exporting the document to another format, like a PDF file.

How does it work? After Grackle is launched, It scans the current document for accessibility issues and identifies and locates errors. Feedback appears in a sidebar that is docked on right-side of the screen. By exploring the sidebar, you can immediately learn about accessibility issues and find and fix the detected errors by interacting with the Grackle sidebar.

Note: Grackle’s accessibility checker is free to use; however, the ability to export and produce accessible HTML and PDF documents is only free for the first 30 days (as of December 2019).

At present, Grackle Docs performs the following 22 accessibility checks:

  • Document
    • Document title is required
    • Document language should be specified
  • Images
    • Images should have alternate text or mark as artifact
    • Drawings should have alternate text or mark as artifact
    • Equations should be described
    • Images may need to be downsampled to reduce file size
  • Headings
    • Headings should be used
    • A single “Heading 1” should be used
    • Headings must be properly nested
  • Tables
    • Tables must be tagged or marked as layout tables
    • The use of merged cells is not recommended
    • The use of empty cells is not recommended
  • Landmarks
    • Headers and footers should be used
    • Footnotes should have ids and alt text
    • Lists should be used where appropriate
  • Content
    • Document should not contain unsupported content
    • High color contrast should be used
    • Fine print should be avoided
    • All-caps styling should be avoided
    • Adjusted alignment not suggested for non-heading text
    • Lengthy paragraphs should be avoided
    • Links should be informative

How to install Grackle Docs

Grackle Docs can be installed from the Add-ons menu of a Google Docs document.

  1. Open a Google document.
  2. Select Add-ons > Get Add-ons.
    • Search for “Grackle” in the search field.
    • Select the add-on and click Install.
  3. Note: A message will appear requesting access to data that the add-on needs to work. Review the message and click Allow.
    Image demonstrates the message window that appears when installing Grackle, which requests access to user data.

How to launch and use Grackle Docs

Grackle Docs is simple to launch and is accessed from the Add-ons menu. Open a Google document

  1. From the Add-ons menu, select Grackle Docs, then select Launch.
    Image demonstrates the location of Grackle Docs add-on, under the Add-ons menu. 

    • A sidebar launches that identifies errors and warnings.
      Image demonstrates the Grackle sidebar displaying checks for Document, Image, and Headings.
    • Clicking on each error and warning will expand the selection and provide guidance on how to resolve each issue.
    • Select the “Locate” button on any flagged item will take you to that line of the document to review.Image demonstrates the 'Locate and Tag' button that users can select to locate and correct errors and warnings.
  2. Continue to review and address each flagged item.
    • Select the “Re-Check” button at the top of the sidebar to update the report.
    • Continue to revise until all checks have passed.

To view a sample Google Doc that will give you a sense of how Grackle Docs works, see Grackle Docs Walkthrough Document from Grackle. Automated accessibility checkers cannot be trusted to check for all accessibility concerns, so be sure to review the recommended techniques in this document.

Evaluating Accessibility in Other Formats

To evaluate HTML accessibility

Save the document into HTML format and use one of the web accessibility checkers available online. Such as:

To evaluate PDF accessibility

If you saved your document in tagged PDF format, you can use the following tools and steps to evaluate the accessibility of the PDF document:

To evaluate PDF accessibility in Adobe Acrobat Professional

  1. Go to menu item: Advanced > Accessibility > Full Check…
  2. In the Full Check dialog, select all the checking option
  3. Select the Start Checking button

Editor’s note: For detailed instructions, see our section on how to check accessibility using Adobe Acrobat Professional.

In some cases, additional steps must be taken in order to ensure accessibility information is preserved when saving/exporting to formats other than the default.

Alternate formats

  1. Go to menu item: File > Download as
  2. Select format Note: documents saved as HTML format may require some cleaning up. The steps below will help you with this.

PDF

PDF documents are not always accessible. Accessible PDF documents are often called “Tagged PDF” because they include “tags” that encode structural information required for accessibility. To evaluate the accessibility of your PDF document, see Technique 11 .

To clean up your HTML file

  1. Remove unnecessary styles, line breaks, etc.
  2. Remove unnecessary id, class, and attributes
  3. Remove font tags
  4. Remove styles in the <head> tag
  5. Ensure the <th> tags have a scope attribute
  6. Remove <p> tags nested inside <th> and <td> tags
  7. Check for accessibility (see Technique 11) Note: you may wish to use HTML editors or utilities to help with this process.

Disclaimer: This list is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive and inclusion of an application or plug-in on the list does not constitute a recommendation or guarantee of results.

If you are interested in what features are provided to make using Google Docs more accessible to users, documentation is provided through online articles and Help forums:

  1. Go to menu item: Help > Google Docs Help Center

This document was produced as part of the Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project.

This project has been developed by the Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University as part of an EnAbling Change Partnership project with the Government of Ontario and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Partner logos: UNESCO-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Government of Ontario and the Inclusive Design Research Centre (OCAD University)


Source: Authoring Techniques for Accessible Office Documents: Google docs: Documents by the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) used under CC-BY-SA 3.0.
n accessibility checking feature.

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Understanding Document Accessibility by The Chang School, Ryerson University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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