Check accessibility: is your document accessible?

Run an automated check to see how accessible your documents and presentations are, and get hints for fixing any issues raised

If you share a document or presentation with students or colleagues (within your team, department, or the wider University) you're required to check its accessibility.

Check Microsoft documents

When editing any Microsoft document, always use the Check Accessibility feature. 

Find it in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook under the Review tab/menu: select Check Accessibility.

  • It identifies issues in your document
  • It explains why they can be a problem
  • It then suggests how to fix them

This accessibility checking option is available in most Microsoft programs for both Windows and Mac and online Office 365.

Check multiple files (staff only)

Blackboard Ally is a tool in Moodle that checks the accessibility of any resources uploaded, gives them a score and suggests how to fix any problems.

If you share or publish documents (for example to SharePoint), you can use it to check their accessibility. 

  • All Kent staff can create a Moodle module for this purpose
  • It's already built into all teaching modules in Moodle

What it does

  • Lets you bulk upload multiple documents at once
  • Checks how accessible a document is and gives you a score
  • Tells you how to fix any accessibility issues it finds
  • Re-checks your document showing any remaining issues until all are fixed
  • Why it's important: what Ally is and what it does (video)

To use it, follow the steps below.

How to get access to Moodle for accessibility checking

To use Moodle to check the accessibility of any document, you need to create a training module. You can do this even if you've never used Moodle before:

  • Open Moodle and choose Click here to create a Training Module (top of the page)
  • Name your module and give it a short name (leave the rest as they are)
  • Scroll down and choose Save and Display
  • From the front page of your module, if asked, choose start fresh

Log into Moodle training site with your Kent IT Account.  

If you've already got access to a module, you should see your module in "My Modules List" on the front page of Moodle Training. If you're a first time Moodle user, you'll need to log out and re-login to see the modules you've been added to. 

Once you have a training module you can add your colleagues to this. This can then be used as a place to share all of your team documents to check their accessibility.

1. Upload  files

  1. Open your Module as described above
  2. Turn editing on: click the actions menu (cog icon) in the top right of the page. Then choose to Turn editing on (the page will refresh)
  3. Upload your files: you can drag and drop files onto your page from your computer.

2. View their accessibility score

Once you’ve added a files to your module, Ally starts to analyse the uploaded files: this takes several minutes per document (it can take up to 15 minutes). 

Refresh the browser page to check whether it's done: once it's ready you'll see a mini speedometer icon next to each file, which will be red, amber or green.

Speedometer icon indicating the accessibility score and report is available

3. View and fix issues

Click on the speedometer icon next to your file to see a pop-up window with the accessibility score.

If accessibility issues are found it gives you advice on how to improve the file and how to upload a new version for checking.

4. Be loud and proud!

You can now format your next document correctly from the start so fewer issues may be highlighted next time. Bask in the glory of a new skill learnt!

Enjoy the feel-good factor of doing the right thing. Now it's time to encourage your colleagues to use it!

To add more users to your module:

  • click Participants from the left menu in your module
  • click Enrol Users (top of the page that lists other fictitious users)
  • search for the surname of the user you want to add and pick them from the list so their name is shown at the top of the window
  • assign them a Teacher role so they can upload files
  • click Enrol selected users and cohorts.

5. Data protection advisory note

Don't store documents that have GDPR sensitive information about individuals in Moodle training. Content is visible to Moodle administrators so there are privacy implications.

You can check documents using this process but should immediately delete them once you have the accessibility feedback.

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