Checklist for Office Documents

Microsoft Word documents at the University of Michigan must meet the requirements in the table below to be considered accessible.

To test existing documents, see the Testing section below the checklist.

Area Requirement Manual Testing


Meaningful images have alternative text.
Video has captions.

  • Word 2016: Select the image, select Format > Picture > Layout & Properties tab > Alt Text, ensure that both the title and description duplicate in text the meaning of the image.
  • Office 365: Select the image, pick Picture in the ribbon, select the Alt Text tab, then ensure that both the title and description duplicate in text the meaning of the image.


Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning.

Do a visual check for situations like these.


Ensure appropriate color contrast so that content can be read by people with visual impairments.

Visually inspect the text/background combinations. If any look suspiciously low contrast, use one of the evaluation methods suggested by WebAIM to verify whether the ratio meets WCAG 2.1 AA standards.


The document has a logical structure using properly implemented headings.

Insert a table of contents. If the table of contents seems correct and reflects the visual structure of the document, headings were probably implemented correctly.


Tables have logical structure.

  • Visually inspect the table: it should be as simple as possible — no merged or split cells.
  • Check to see if the first row is a header row
    • Select first row, then right-click on it and select Table Properties. On the Table Properties > Row tab, make sure "Repeat as header row at the top of each page" is checked.
  • Check to see if the table has alternate text
    • Also in Table Properties, select the Alt Text tab. See if the Description field has text meaningfully and briefly summarizing the nature of the table's content.


Long documents have a table of contents.

If the document goes over 4 pages, there is a table of contents present in the document at the beginning.


Testing is best done in two steps: one using an automated testing tool, and then doing manual tests to cover things that can't be tested by automated tools.

Run the Automated Test First

Run the internal Check Accessibility command:

  • Office 365: Go to the Ribbon Review tab. From the Accessibility section, choose Check Accessibility.
  • Office 2016 for Windows: File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility
  • Office 2016 for Mac: Tools > Check Accessibility

Then Do the Manual Testing

See the Manual Testing column of the checklist table above for manual tests.