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Use Microsoft’s built in accessibility checker to help ensure your content is easy for people of all abilities to read and navigate.

First published:
16 March 2021
Last updated:

The checker finds most accessibility issues and explains why each might be a potential problem for disabled users. It also offers suggestions on how to resolve each issue.

Running the accessibility checker:

  1. select File then Info
  2. select Check for Issues
  3. select Check Accessibility from the drop-down list
  4. the Accessibility Checker task pane appears next to your content and shows the inspection results
  5. selecting an issue under Inspection Results takes you directly to the inaccessible content in your file
  6. the Additional Information panel tells you why and how to fix that issue

Issue are categorised according to how severely they affect accessibility, all errors must be fixed:

  • errors: make the document difficult or impossible to read and understand for people with disabilities
  • warnings: in most cases make the document difficult to understand for people with disabilities
  • tips: disabled people can understand but a different presentation would improve the user’s experience

To be notified about accessibility issues as you’re working, keep the accessibility checker task pane open while editing.

The accessibility checker identifies most issues however there are some it’s not able to detect, these include:

  • colour: it will not check for poor colour contrast or where information is conveyed using colour alone
  • lists: it will not warn about lists that are not formatted as lists
  • text size: it will not warn about difficult to read text, documents should be at least 12pt in size and in a ‘Sans Serif’ typeface
  • closed captions: it reports missing closed captions but videos with open captions or no dialog may have no issues