Skip to content

Checking Microsoft Office for accessibility

Microsoft Office products have a built-in Accessibility Checker for testing a document’s overall accessibility. The checker provides Inspection Results, feedback about the importance of fixing errors and warnings, and tips on how to repair issues that pose barriers to accessibility. The Accessibility Checker is available for Office 365 for the web, as well as the desktop client software which has more extensive accessibility reporting than the web app. It is important to note that older versions of Office have an Accessibility Checker, but it’s slightly different than what’s described on this page and is launched via a different procedure (consult the help for your version of Office).

Using the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Office

The steps for launching the Accessibility Checker for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel in Windows, Mac, and for Office 365 online are the same; from the Review tab select the Check Accessibility icon. However, the desktop version in Windows offers the designer more options from a drop-down menu; from the menu, select Check Accessibility.

Check Accessibility drop down menu in Word for Windows

In all versions of Office, this will display an Inspection Results window that lists Errors, Warnings, and Tips to improve accessibility. It is important to note that Errors and Warnings will cause significant barriers to accessibility and must be addressed. Clicking on an issue will a) jump to the location of the issue, and b) give a brief synopsis at the bottom of the Inspection Results window of why the issue is a barrier and steps to fix it.

Inspection Results window showing Errors, Warnings, Tips, and why issues are barriers to accessibility and steps to fix them

Please note the Accessibility Checker may not address all issues and a manual review of more lengthy documents that include overall document structure (heading levels, table of contents, links), tables, and images will be necessary.

For additional information, see the Microsoft Support documentation on how to Improve Accessibility with the Accessibility Checker.