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Create an accessible Office document

Graphic with cursor and alternative text box

With Internet Explorer options set correctly, alternative text can be seen as a ScreenTip if you hover your mouse cursor over a graphic.

Many documents, not just Web pages, have active features in them. For example, a Word document might have a Web site address as a hyperlink, or an e-mail message could include an image in it. You should consider these elements when you are creating your documents.

Images

A textual description of an image, known as alternative text, should be added to all images. Screen readers and Braille displays recognize alternative text and will present the text in place of the image. You will try this in the practice session.

Longdesc is another text alternative for use on the Internet. It allows you to use many more characters than alternative text, but it is not widely used yet. Look at the World Wide Web Consortium site for more information, World Wide Web Consortium Web site.

Hyperlinks

Make sure that all hyperlinks have a short but sensible text description. Don't use Link or Click here. Ensure the text in the link tells the reader about what they are going to find if they click the link. For example, you could use "Microsoft Web site" as the link text for "www.microsoft.com."

Too many hyperlinks in one document can be very confusing; however, sometimes it cannot be avoided. In Web pages, you can include access keys that quickly direct your reader to the most important hyperlinks.

The TAB key

People with vision (and mobility) disabilities will navigate a Web document using the TAB key. If this seems odd, think about how often you visit a Web site and read everything on that page in the order it's laid out—you don't. You look for the bit that interests you and read that bit.

Pressing the TAB key will move the focus from one hyperlink to the next. Your navigation should make sense as someone presses the TAB key to move through the document. Don't put an important link at the bottom of the third column of your page.

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