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Accessibility Testing in Documents

Color Contrast

Color blindness affects 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women. Make sure to check the color contrast of the content in the document. The WCAG guidelines require a color contrast ratio of 4.5:1. You can use different tools to check the color contrast between the background and foreground.


WebAIM provides a free color contrast checker tool. Learn how to use the color contrast checkers on the accessible content page.

Accessibility Checker

Microsoft Word includes a basic accessibility checker to help users identify common issues. However, it may not catch all problems, as some issues should be identified through manual testing.

Here is how you can check for accessibility:

  1. Click on Review > Accessibility

    Microsoft accessibility checker
  2. This should open up a window showing all the accessibility issues in the document.

    Accessibility checker results
  3. When you click on an issue in the list, a window describing the issue and how it can be resolved opens.

    Accessibility checker issue

Go through the list and fix each accessibility issue.

Here's another way to access the accessibility checker in Word. This may be helpful for those using an older version of Word. Go to Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility. This will open up an accessibility checker window.

Accessibility Checker from Info menu

Manual Testing

Accessibility checkers do not cover all the accessibility issues. You will still need to check the following issues manually:

  • Valid alt text: make sure the alt text conveys the meaning of the content
  • Valid hyperlinks: make sure the hyperlinks are correct by testing and following the link to be sure the page you are linking to is still valid
  • Text in images: make sure the images do not include text except for a logo. If you do not have a choice, add all the text as alt text and display it on the screen
  • Color contrast