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Ensuring Accessibility: Types of Documents that need to be made Accessible

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With an increasing number of people relying on technology to access information and communicate, it is vital that all documents are made accessible to all including people with disabilities. In this blog post, we will focus on understanding the various types of documents that need to be made accessible.


PDFs are widely used for sharing documents because of their fixed layout, ensuring that the document looks the same across different devices. However, they can pose accessibility challenges, especially if they are not tagged properly. Tagging elements within a PDF allows screen readers to interpret the document’s structure, making it accessible to users with visual impairments.

Key considerations for making PDFs accessible include:

  • Determine the appropriate Heading Structure
  • Mark the language of the document & the content
  • Set the correct reading order
  • Label the lists
  • Define column and row headers for both simple and complex tables
  • Set the bookmarks

Note: Making a PDF form accessible requires a little more effort as it is more than just dropping form elements into your document.

PowerPoint Presentations (PPT)

Presentations are often used to convey information in a visual and engaging manner and are widely used for delivering lectures, workshops, and business presentations.. However, it is important to remember that not everyone can access visual content easily.

To ensuring accessibility of PowerPoint Presentations:

  • Use slide layouts to maintain a consistent structure and set the Slide Title
  • Add alt text to images and graphics
  • Set the correct reading order
  • Use sufficient colour contrast
  • Avoid excessive use of animations and transitions

Office Documents – Word, Excel

Office documents, including Word, Excel, are widely used across different industries. These documents serve as a platform for structuring and displaying data in an organized and visually attractive format, aiding in efficient decision-making, analysis, reporting, and other functions.

Making Office Documents accessible involves:

  • Using built-in styles for headings, lists, and other elements
  • Defining column and row headers
  • Using meaningful hyperlinks
  • Adding descriptive titles and labels to charts and graphs
  • Marking the Language of the Document & Content
  • Creating bookmarks within the document
  • Utilizing Word’s Accessibility Checker to identify and fix accessibility issues


InDesign stands out as the preferred choice among graphic designers and marketing professionals aiming to craft and distribute visually captivating documents. InDesign offers an array of sophisticated features tailored to cater to the multimedia landscape and empower users to achieve the versatility and precision in their creative endeavors.

Key considerations in making InDesign documents accessible includes:

  • Ensure text is editable and tagged for export to accessible formats
  • Provide alt text for images and graphics
  • Ensure interactive elements such as buttons and hyperlinks are accessible to keyboard users and screen readers.

Making various document types accessible is essential for ensuring inclusivity and equal access to information for all users. By following best practices and utilizing accessibility features provided by different software tools, content creators can make a significant impact in fostering an inclusive digital environment.

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By Ramya Venkitesh

Head - Accessibility New Initiatives, Actively involved in formulating new ideas to create Innovative Accessible Solutions across all Disabilities.