Accessible Documents


Accessible Documents

As members of University staff we should all be aware of issues surrounding inclusivity in all areas of university life. You may well be in the process of editing your Word Documents and PowerPoint presentations to meet accessibility criteria right now.


Two quick things today:

  1. Please click on this link, then find and download the Word document entitled Accessibility Checklist – it’s just under the title General Principles.  Please read it and save it for future reference. It contains lots of useful guidance, plus a couple of video tutorials on how to convert existing Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.
  2. To earn your credit today, please post a comment about any software or technology you have used, or heard about, that promotes accessibility within a university context.

IMPORTANT: if you do not have the templates already installed on your machine, and the links in the document draw a blank – as they appear to be for some, but not all – please contact IT Services to gain access to them.

Going Further:

Our 5 minutes have been exhausted today once again, but here’s some further reading if you wish to learn more.  Anglia Learning & Teaching have created a VLE page for Inclusive Teaching Practice. Click here to go to the VLE site, and log in using your Anglia Ruskin staff username and password.




You can also contribute to the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #5DoDL

188 thoughts on “Accessible Documents

  1. Jessica Frank October 14, 2016 / 7:52 am

    I have never had to use the template for accessible documents up to now, however I know where to find it if I ever need to use it.
    I personally use the SSOverlay software on my pc to change the color of the screen to make it easier for me to read it.


  2. Sarah Webb October 17, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    In the library I have directed students towards the accessibility software available to them. I have also tried using ssOverlay myself.


  3. janeshelley October 18, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    I have always used the templates but now with the checklist and training I ensure I fully check all documents


  4. Amanda October 19, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    I’ve been using the templates but had forgotten about the need to clearly describe images in alt text so will now address this in powerpoint presentations for tomorrow.


  5. Glen Campey October 20, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    Sorry for joining this party late – have had leave between now and then, and have only just managed to catch up.

    There’s a great Lynda playlist on converting office documents here:

    I ran through these quite early in my role, and they’ve been invaluable in looking out for and fixing accessibility issues: a massive part of my job at the moment…


  6. Rachael November 2, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I haven’t personally used it but worked with a colleague who used Dragon Voice Software.


  7. Estela November 3, 2016 / 11:24 am

    I’m new in ARU and since I came here they all suggested me to use the templates. So, I’m using them to create all the materials. However, some times I wonder about the use of colors, because in fact most of the time they are not relevant (it doesn’t matter in which color they see but that they realize they are separate pieces of information). I’ve saved the files and I’ve looked at them. However, I have the feeling that there are so many things to take into account that I will fail in one if not in many.


  8. Mel Hampson November 7, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    I’ve mainly be transferring my work on to the new templates. We often use study skills plus for the students and we have access to a particularly knowledgeable member of staff who offers advice (Sandra Cross).


  9. kostas papadopoulos November 7, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    That was an interesting topic. The software I mostly use is ABBY finereader.


  10. Julia Carr November 7, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    I have used the templates for my work this semester. The accessibility software that I use for my own work is for mind mapping, such as MindGenius as I find it easier to construct plans in this way.


  11. Suzie November 7, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    I use excel for the majority of my work, things to make it more accessible are to use colour or shading to highlight key areas.


  12. Catherine Foottit November 7, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    We are leading by example in our FMT meetings and Faculty conference days by using the accessible templates


  13. Marc Rothera November 7, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    I’m aware of various screen reader programs but have never used one, I get as far as highlighting the block of text I’m reading with the mouse!


  14. Lata Gautam November 7, 2016 / 11:32 pm

    I have joined this programme quite late. I am using our accessible templates for teaching and have heard about dragon software.


  15. Simon Dady November 8, 2016 / 9:44 am

    I have started ploughing through previously delivered teaching material to find the volume of variation and “inappropriate” presentation methodologies. I have a fair amount of work to do!!


  16. Fabienne Paul November 8, 2016 / 11:12 am

    Never needed to use templates for accessible documents however this has been informative and raised awareness should I need to.


  17. Sam Groeber November 8, 2016 / 11:58 am

    These templates for accessible documents are very helpful and easy to follow


  18. Aimee Neaverson November 9, 2016 / 11:51 am

    I have previously registered with Load2Learn, which is an organisation that contact publishers and asks for digital copies of their books. They then prepare them in an accessible format and are available to download as a PDF. Student’s can then use the software to have the documents read to them. I used this when I was teaching a blind student and it was extremely helpful.


  19. Kerry Wood November 10, 2016 / 12:11 pm

    QlikView allows users to view data in lots of different ways. All data can be output to Excel or Txt and PDFs can be produced in accessible formats.


  20. Wendy Durham November 10, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    I have not used these previously but will now be looking into QlikView and some of the others. I have used the templates and I am currently moving all presentations over.


  21. kateouthwaite November 14, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    IT services have added a range of Accessibility support programs to the standard PC desktops. One of my favourites is ssOverlay (available in All Programs) which allows the user to change the colour of the display on screen as if it was tinted by a variety of colours known to help on-screen reading for people with particular visual or cognitive challenges.


  22. Linda Collett November 17, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    I have never used accessibility support programs but having read about them I will know where to look if I need them


  23. Hannah Hunt November 30, 2016 / 3:48 pm

    I’m delighted that we have a way of creating accessible documents.
    I try to make my documents as accessible as possible!


  24. Kirstie Smith December 8, 2016 / 10:13 am

    I have difficulty reading black text on a white screen, so finding the ssOverlay was really useful for changing the screen colour. I often point out the accessibility options to students in the Library


  25. Adam Olivant December 9, 2016 / 5:26 pm

    Grammarly makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. I use it to ensure that I haven’t made any errors.


  26. Natalie January 23, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    I have not had to use the checklist as of yet however where I used to work it had zoomtext software installed for customers.


  27. Theresa Crawforth January 27, 2017 / 11:51 am

    I’ve never used it, but I know student can and ask to use MindGenius.


  28. Susan January 30, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    I would like to post Anglia Ruskin’s open access Repository ARROW. Susan Ludlow


  29. Iain Brett February 6, 2017 / 2:38 pm

    As an Assistive Tech Champion in the library, I’m at least aware of plenty. One big one is JAWS, a screen-reading program.


  30. Rebecca Lee February 7, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    In the library we have recently had training on how to support people using the ‘CCTV’ video magnifier to enlarge text. It also allows users to change the brightness, contrast and colour of both the page and the text to suit the users’ requirements.


  31. Hannah March 9, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    I have seen students use JAWS to read screens, and know about the accessibility options on ARUs desktop. I use the ssOverlays myself sometimes.


  32. Judith March 22, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    I am eagerly awaiting the funding being found to allow our students to use SensusAccess – it allows students and staff to convert documents into a range of alternate media including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille.


  33. markellisangliaruskin March 28, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    As producing documents isn’t something that falls within my job role very often I was therefore unaware of the accessibility checklist when preparing documents. Now that I know about it, anything I work on in the future I will consult the guidelines to make sure my work is accessible. It was interesting to learn about ssOverlay and JAWS software.


  34. Liz Harrison May 22, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    I have tried using the ssOverlay under all programs. It is a great idea although I did find it hard to remove the overlay.


  35. Matt McConkey May 23, 2017 / 9:33 am

    I don’t see anyone mentioning Balabolka, which is a text-to-speech program which is available from all university machines, and can be useful for e.g. visually impaired students. All computers also have Windows accessibility features, which can be useful – you can find them on the Start Menu in “Accessories”, then “Ease of Access” – including a handy magnifier.

    Microsoft have a page about their built-in accessibility features here: – including in the latest Windows 10 update support for a range of braille readers.


  36. Nermin Minter June 6, 2017 / 8:35 am

    I was unaware of the accessibility checklist when preparing documents.

    Balabolka program converts text to speech.

    ssOverlay allows the user to alter the colour of the screen.


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