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How to make Word documents accessible

What this guide is for

Most content can, and should, be published as a web page. Read why content should be published as a web page.

If you need to publish your content as a downloadable document, use this guide to help you create an accessible PDF using Microsoft Word.

We have created a checklist to help you make sure you have covered everything.

Why use Microsoft Word

We recommend using Word to create your accessible PDF because:

  • It's a word processing application that is relatively easy to use and has good tools for creating effective reports, plans and other text-based documents
  • It's a key tool available to Norfolk County Council (NCC) staff - and many other organisations and individuals use it too
  • It has several tools and formatting functions that help users create accessible documents

Why publish as a PDF

We publish most documents on our websites as PDFs. This is because well-designed and accessible PDFs provide a better user experience than other file types:

  • Website users do not need specific software to view PDFs - you can view a PDF for free in several different ways. If you publish a document as a different file type, website users might need to use specific software to view the document. It might be hard for them to find and download the software and they might even have to sign up for an account with the provider or pay a fee
  • PDFs always display the same way, no matter what software you use to view them

Other applications and file types

We have separate guidance for PowerPoint slides and Excel spreadsheets. We explain when and how you should use these applications to create online content.

Find out when and how to accessibility check a PDF.

Responsibility for making web content accessible

Check who is responsible for making web content accessible

How NCC staff can get help to publish accessible content. 

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