What Are Accessibility Checkers?
An accessibility checker generates a report of issues that could make it difficult for people with disabilities to understand your content. It also explains why and how to fix these issues.
An accessibility checker cannot replace a manual check by a knowledgeable person, but it can assist in finding the most common issues in most documents.
Why Use Accessibility Checkers?
Any document that is shared with students, staff and/or the general public must be accessible. Accessibility checkers will help you identify and correct any issues so that you can meet this requirement. Following accessibility best practices can also help you create documents that are easier for all users to read.
How Do I Run an Accessibility Check?
Microsoft Office provides an Accessibility Checker in the most recent versions of Word and PowerPoint. You can use it to check both new and previously created files.
Adobe Acrobat offers an Accessibility Checker for evaluating your PDF files. This tool can help identify issues and provide instructions on resolving any problems with your document. Acrobat also has built-in text recognition tools to help scan images for text.
This process will not work with low-quality scans because Acrobat will not be able to read the text in order to check it.
Do not use PDFs with text that Adobe cannot read.
Note: The process of making a PDF accessible can be very time-consuming. A time-saving workaround is to create your content in Word and make sure it’s accessible before exporting to PDF. Then provide both a PDF and an accessible Word document version so that users can choose the one that best meets their needs.
Blackboard Ally is a tool in eCampus that automatically checks courses for accessibility issues. Ally then adds indicator icons beside course content items and creates a summary report to help the instructor identify priorities for revision.
To learn how to use Ally, see
Use Ally to Improve Accessibility on eCampus (login required).
If you use Google Docs or Google Slides to create content, you can download the files as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint documents and run them through the Microsoft Word accessibility checker.
Make Your Google Document or Presentation More Accessible for some simple ways to create more accessible content while working in Google Docs or Slides.
What If My Accessibility Checkers Disagree?
Microsoft, Adobe and eCampus (Blackboard) all have their own accessibility checkers, and each company establishes what, exactly, those checkers look for. For that reason, you may have files that show no issues in one checker but still get flagged by another. When this happens, it’s generally not an issue of one accessibility checker being “wrong.” It’s just that, for that issue, one checker may be more sensitive than another. In that case, it’s helpful to think of the accessibility checkers as partners rather than competitors. Together, they catch more issues and ensure more accessible content.
Get the Latest Versions of Microsoft Office and Acrobat Pro
Employees of Dallas College can get the latest versions of Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud (including Acrobat Pro DC) for free.