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Section 508 Compliance for Microsoft Word Documents

Overview

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.

Section508.gov

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

Microsoft Word 2013

Microsoft Word 2010

Find additional tips, agency-developed guidance, and related resources on the Section508.gov website.

Reflection

  1. Use the checklists documents to assess your current Microsoft Word documents. Are your Word documents accessible? How can they be improved?
  2. How can you incorporate what you’ve learned into your next Word document? Will you do anything differently when creating the document?

 

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