In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to individuals with disabilities. The law (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology.
Under Section 508, agencies must provide disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others. The United States Access Board discusses the Section 508 law and its responsibility for developing accessibility standards for EIT to incorporate into regulations that govern Federal procurement practices in more depth.
The GSA Section 508.gov website provides guidance, tools, and resources for Section 508 procurements with the ultimate goal of ensuring equal participation for people with disabilities by improving Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility. This website aggregates all relevant federal guidance, checklists, and testing information for creating and maintaining accessible documents in various popular electronic formats, including Word, PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Resources to Create and Maintain Accessible Microsoft Word Documents
Use the following resources aggregated by Section508.gov to make your Microsoft (MS) Word documents accessible and 508 compliant.
Creating Accessible Documents
The following are guidance developed by the Accessible Electronic Documents Community of Practice (AED COP).
Microsoft Word 2016
- DRAFT Microsoft Word 2016 Basic Authoring and Testing Guide (MS Word, March 2019)
- Microsoft Word 2016 Printable Accessible Testing Checklist (MS Word, June 2019)
Microsoft Word 2013
- Baseline Test Process (MS Word, September 2017)
- Basic Authoring and Testing Guide (MS Word, September 2017)
- Detailed Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
- Printable Checklist (MS Word, September 2017)
Microsoft Word 2010
- Basic Authoring and Testing Guide (MS Word, January 2015)
- Basic Authoring and Testing Checklist (MS Word, January 2015)
- Baseline Tests for Accessible Electronic Documents (MS Word, January 2015)
- CMS Section 508 Quick Reference Guide (MS Word, November 2013)
Find additional tips, agency-developed guidance, and related resources on the Section508.gov website.
- Use the checklists documents to assess your current Microsoft Word documents. Are your Word documents accessible? How can they be improved?
- How can you incorporate what you’ve learned into your next Word document? Will you do anything differently when creating the document?