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Accessibility checks for non-experts

Creating Accessible MS Word documents

Guides to Accessible Word docs


What are headings?

“A good heading structure is probably the most important accessibility consideration in most Word documents. Headings will allow screen reader users [often blind people] to navigate through the page easily and will make the page more usable for everyone. Many people do not use true styles in Word. For example, when creating a heading, they simply change the font, enlarge the font size, make it bold, etc. If this is done, the document has no real structure that can be discerned by a screen reader. In Word, the correct way to provide structure is to use Word styles." (quote from:

The short activity below will guide you practice adding and formatting headings in all common versions of Word. More briefly: you can add headings and subheadings by highlighting the text that you want to make into a heading, and pressing Ctrl + Alt + 1, 2, or 3 (Cmd + Option on a Mac).

Once you add headings, blind users will be able to quickly skim over your Word doc just as a sighted user can do.  In order to skim it, blind users can press a key on the keyboard (usually H) to jump to the text you have identified as a heading.  As explained in the practice document, headings are very useful for sighted people to quickly skip through long documents too!