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Making documents accessible is an important, but sometimes overlooked part of digital accessibility. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and UNC policy has rules for ensuring ALL digital content is accessible. This includes digital documents like Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint slides, and PDFs. These documents must have specific structure, tags and labels to ensure they are readable by assistive technology.

UNC’s Digital Accessibility Office (DAO) provides documentation and training to help you make your documents accessible.


We Need Your Help!

We realize that our web editors aren’t always the original creators of the documents that are placed online. Oftentimes someone else creates the documents and the site editor adds them to the website. These documents still need to be accessible! We need the help of our site editors to inform people of this accessibility requirement.

What Do I Do With a Document That’s Not Accessible?

  1. Do site visitors need to download the document? If not, it would be easier to paste the document content into a web page.  Web pages have certain accessibility requirements of their own (headers, alt text for images, etc.) but these are often easier to address than document requirements.
  2. If the document is going to be used digitally – sent out via email, placed on a website, etc., then it needs to be accessible.
    1. If someone else created the document, send it back to them and ask them to make it accessible. You might want to help them out and send them the link to this web page so they can learn about document accessibility requirements and find the resources listed here.
    2. If the original creator of the document won’t make it accessible then the website editor/administrator needs to do it before the document is added to the website.

External Resources

Word Documents

Google Documents

PDF Files

PowerPoint Documents

Google Slides


Multiple Resources

  • Quick cheatsheets by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) on how to make documents accessible.