Creating Accessible Word Documents
This page will walk you through the process of creating materials (e.g., Syllabus, Schedule, Course Expectations, content pages) for your online course. You may choose to build content directly in Webcourses@UCF using the Pages tool or create content in Microsoft Word and then copy/paste the content into Pages.
We recommend that you use the Pages tool in Webcourses@UCF to present content to students. Pages have a Rich Content Editor that makes editing and formatting easy and they have HTML code behind the scenes. Pages are the preferred format to present content in your online course since they can be opened quickly using any internet browser, do not require additional software in order to view them, and can be easily navigated by screen readers. Properly formatting your content will ensure that your course materials are accessible (Section 508) to all students. Word documents may be appropriate to use in your online course if you need students to print or fill out the page. Follow the formatting guidelines below to improve the accessibility of Word documents. PDF documents may be appropriate to use when the document is a form, historical document, or if the document is has a complex layout. PDF documents can be created to be accessible, however, they are not as navigable with a screen reader as HTML or Word and require Adobe Reader in order to view them. PDF documents are the most difficult to make accessible.
How to Format Documents
- Follow the formatting checklist below to properly format content in Webcourses@UCF Pages or Word documents. Applying the formatting styles below (headings, lists, tables, etc.) adds an invisible “tag” that identifies the different parts of your document. Changing the text font size and color does not apply the same “tag” as the formatting styles listed below.
- If you prefer to start by creating content in Word, we recommend that you download and use one of the formatted Word template files. These template files contain the required styles and formatting (e.g., headings). You may copy/paste content from Word into Pages. Please note: You may need to reapply formatting in Webcourses@UCF Pages after copying content from Word.
- If you have an existing Word document, you may follow the formatting checklist below and apply the formatting styles to your document.
- Apply heading styles to your document. Headings are required for screen readers to be able to read the document.
- For more than one column of text, create a table with column or row headings.
- Apply the appropriate list style to bulleted and/or numbered lists.
- Provide alternative text for all images in your document.
- Insert active hyperlinks for all URLs in your document.
- Check correct formatting guidelines if you use equations.
- Use bold or italic text to display emphasis. (Please do not use underlined words. Underlined text on a web page indicates hyperlinks.)
- To ensure accessibility, please do not use colors to indicate meaning (e.g., colored text or highlighted table rows and columns).
- We recommend that you create a Word document that is no longer than 3-5 pages. If your Word document is longer than 5 pages, consider “chunking” or dividing the material into multiple documents. This creates more manageable “bite size pieces” for your students to absorb and requires less page scrolling.
- Consider adding icons (e.g., Do This, Read This, Watch This, etc.) to your course pages to bring attention to a specific area of text or media. To view the standard icons available visit the icon preview page.
Word template files (.docx)
The following template files contain the required styles and formatting. You may download and edit these template files to create your documents. If you accidentally remove the formatting, refer to the formatting checklist above for directions on how to reapply.
Having trouble formatting documents?
The formatting options in the following locked template files have been simplified to assist you with applying formatting styles. Use the quick styles gallery (Figure 1) to apply headings, bulleted lists, and numbered lists to your document. Figure 1: Quick Styles Gallery
If for some reason the styles need to be unlocked, follow the steps below:
- Select the Review ribbon at the top of the screen.
- Click the Restrict Editing button (Mac: Document button).
- Enter password ucf.
If you need assistance with the process of creating and formatting pages in your online course, please contact Webcourses@UCF Support.