About accessibility for people with disabilities

Microsoft is committed to making products that are accessible (accessibility: The quality of a given system of hardware or software that makes it usable by people with one or more physical disabilities, such as restricted mobility, blindness, or deafness.) and usable by all people, including those with disabilities.

Accessibility features in Microsoft Word

Many accessibility features are built right into Microsoft Word. These features are available to everyone, without the need for additional accessibility aids (accessibility aids: Utilities that make computers easier to use for people with disabilities. Examples of accessibility aids include screen readers, speech recognition programs, and on-screen keyboards.).

ShowKeyboard shortcuts

Many features and commands are available directly from the keyboard. If a command you want doesn't have a shortcut key, you can assign one to it. You can also view and print lists of all the shortcut keys available.

ShowCustomization options

You can customize Word to better suit your needs:

  • Size and zoom options    You can zoom in on your document to make information more readable on the screen. You can also make toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.) buttons larger so that they're easier to see and use. Some Microsoft mouse pointing devices allow you to scroll and zoom directly by using the mouse instead of clicking buttons on the screen. For example, you can zoom in on or out of a document by holding down CTRL and rotating the wheel forward or backward. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to zoom.
  • Toolbar and menu options    You can customize toolbars and menu (menu: A list of commands that is displayed when you click a menu name on a menu bar or other toolbar.) commands — for example, you might create a toolbar that contains only the buttons and menus you use most often, or group toolbar buttons and menu commands together in a way that meets your personal preference. You can even create a custom toolbar button or menu command.
  • Color and sound options    You can customize color and sound options — for example, you can change the color of text and numbers to make a document more readable, and turn sounds on or off for buttons, menus, and other screen elements.

ShowTips for working more efficiently

Word includes features that can help you automate repetitive tasks or work more effectively. For example, you can:

Additional resources

ShowInformation on the Web

If you have access to the World Wide Web (World Wide Web (WWW): The multimedia branch of the Internet that presents not only text, but also graphics, sound, and video. On the Web, users can easily jump from item to item, page to page, or site to site by using hyperlinks.), you can learn more about the accessibility features included in Microsoft products from the Microsoft Accessibility Web site. To learn about creating accessible content for your Web pages, refer to the accessibility standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.

ShowPrinted information about Microsoft services

More information about Microsoft services for people with disabilities is available in an appendix in the book Discovering the Microsoft Office 2003 Editions, which comes with Microsoft Office. For example, you'll find information about how people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can contact the Microsoft Sales and Information Center or the Microsoft Support Network. You'll also find information about obtaining Microsoft documentation from Recording for the Blind, Inc., for those who have difficulty reading or handling printed documentation. The appendix also describes third-party hardware and software products that make personal computers easier to use for people with disabilities, and lists organizations to contact for more information.

ShowSystem accessibility options

If you own a Microsoft Windows–based computer, you can set or change system accessibility options. Many of these options affect the way you work in Microsoft Office programs. For example, the Windows StickyKeys feature is designed for people who have difficulty holding down two or more keys at a time. When a shortcut in an Office program requires a key combination, such as CTRL+P, StickyKeys enables you to press one key at a time instead of pressing the keys simultaneously.

Applies to:
Word 2003