Word, Excel and Powerpoint

Accessibility Guidelines for Other Documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)

Word, Excel, powerpoint and other files offered on the Web site are an extension of the Web site and should be fully accessible.

The following are some of the guidelines that should be validated for accessibility compliance for all PDF content:

Accessible Text

Ensure that the text of the document is accessible.



Acronyms and Abbreviations

Provide expansions for acronyms and abbreviations.



Alternative Text for Non-text Content

Alternative Text is additional or descriptive text that can be used to describe an image, formula, or other item in the document that does not translate naturally into text.



Colour Contrast

Ensure that text colour has an acceptable colour contrast ratio.

For most colours, 4.5:1 is an acceptable ratio, however for the red/orange colour range, a 7:1 ratio is recommended. There are various colour contrast checking tools available online (i.e. Colour Contrast Check by snook.ca).

WCAG Guidelines referenced:

  • Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
    • 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum): The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1, except for the following: (Level AA)

      Large Text: Large-scale text and images of large-scale text have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1;

      Incidental: Text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component, that are pure decoration, that are not visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains significant other visual content, have no contrast requirement.

      Logotypes: Text that is part of a logo or brand name has no minimum contrast requirement.



Document Access

Ensure the document permissions permit access.

Set the data access restrictions on the document to permit the contents to be accessed by assistive technologies.



Language of Document

Identify the language of the document.

Use the language tagging facilities (Lang) to specify the natural language of all text in the document.


Identify any changes in the document content's language.

In addition to identifying the primary language as above, individual elements containing content in a language other than main document language should be set to indicate a language change has occured on the page. Thus, this signals the screen-reader to switch to an alternate pronunciation scheme, or to identify alternative hyphenation schemes for various languages.


Logical Structure

Properly structure content.

Properly nested headings and paragraphs enable the document's content to be easily read. Use tables for tabular data, lists for list data, etc.