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Titles in documents

Digital documents should have titles that describe their function or purpose. This is used in a variety of ways, and is helpful for all users.

For an overview of this issue, see Titles in our IT Accessibility Checklist.

Titles are typically defined in a Document Properties or similar dialog, separate from the document itself. This should not be confused with the main heading of the document, which appears within the document (for more about headings, see Headings in documents).

Techniques for Microsoft Office

To add a title to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, scroll down from the File drop-down menu and select “Properties…,” this will display the properties window. Clicking on the summary tab will reveal the title field, enter a title that is meaningful and communicates the overall topic of the document.
Properties window of Microsoft Office, Summary tab is selected and Title field has focus

Techniques for Google Docs

Google Docs provides the ability to add a unique title to a document. Located in the upper left corner of the window is a clickable field, if creating a new document, this field will display ‘Untitled document.’ Adding a cursor to this file will automatically add the first few lines of text from the body of the document, assigning it as the document title. To add a new title, delete the text and enter a unique title that communicates the topic of the document.
Close up of Google Document Title field

Techniques for InDesign

InDesign requires a document title for accessibility. To add a document title in InDesign, from the File drop down menu select File Info…, this will open up the file information dialogue box. At the top, enter the document title.¬†When exported as an accessible PDF, this information will¬†automatically be transferred to the PDF as required metadata and saved.

InDesign file information dialogue box with the document title filed circled

Techniques for PDF using Acrobat Pro

Specifying the document title of a PDF allows for better searching and easier identification for users of assistive technology. To change the document title, you must use Acrobat Pro in order to access and edit the metadata. After opening the PDF, scroll down from the File drop-down menu and select “Properties…,” this will display the properties window. The description tab reveals the title field. If a document authored from a native format included a title using the techniques listed above, it would appear here. Otherwise, it will be left blank and the default title will be the file name and will also be reflected in the title bar. To add or change the title, enter a new title in the filed and click OK.
Document Properties window of a PDF, Description tab, showing the Title field