Creating accessible documents

We have both a legal and ethical obligation to ensure we are not excluding anyone from being able to access our content. All documents must be accessible. 

If a document does not pass an accessibility check we cannot add it to the website. We also reserve the right to remove any documents that do not meet the required accessibility standards.

Word and other Microsoft Office documents

Use a template 

We have a wide range of branded accessible templates which provide you with maximum flexibility, so that you can communicate effectively with your audience and be accessibility compliant.

Use Microsoft Office accessibility settings

To check that a Word document is accessible, in Word:

  1. Go to the 'Review' tab
  2. Click 'Check Accessibility'

A panel will pop up on the right that highlights any accessibility issues with the document. Some of these will just be warnings of things you need to check. Others will be issues that need to be addressed. Word gives advice on how to check issues.

Screenshot of an example of Microsoft Word accessibility inspection results message

Once the Word document is fully accessible and you’ve checked any warnings in that panel, you can easily create an accessible PDF from this by the following steps, see below.

Find out more about checking accessibility within Microsoft Office.

Accessible PDFs

Once the Word document is fully accessible and you’ve checked any warnings in that panel, you can easily create an accessible PDF from this by the following steps.

1. Go to File > Save As (it’s important you click Save As, rather than Save as Adobe PDF).

2. Choose PDF from the dropdown of document types.

3. Select the 'More options..' link, it will look something like this:

Screenshot of an example of Microsoft Word file saving options

4. In the 'Optimize for..' section, choose Minimum size (publishing online).

5. In the 'Title' section Give the document a formal title.

6. Click the Options button, and make sure all of the non-printing information options are checked. These should be:

  • 'Create bookmarks using Headings'
  • 'Document properties'
  • 'Document structure tags for accessibility'

Screenshot of Microsoft Word accessibility options

7. Once all of those steps are taken, now you can click Save, and Word will create an accessible PDF ready for upload to the website.

PDF checker

If you need to check whether a PDF is accessible, you can use an online PDF accessibility checker.

Find out more

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Organisational Development For any personal, individual and/or confidential matters regarding access and disability.