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Learning Path: Creating Accessible Documents

Welcome to the Accessible Documents Learning Path! By working to create accessible documents and remove barriers, everyone can easily access and understand the wealth of information your library offers. It ensures inclusivity, ease of use, top-notch professionalism, and you’re creating an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered.

Your dedication to learning how to create accessible documents will make a lasting impact on your community!


The Creating Accessible Documents learning path helps you format documents and write accessible emails. It covers general guidelines and specific instructions for working with document programs. Webinars include examples by and discussions with people with lived experience. You’ll learn about word processor documents, spreadsheets, and presentation programs.

The total time to complete this learning path is approximately 10 hours.

We suggest you go at your own pace and follow along with our checklists and webinars before and during your work on a document, presentation, or spreadsheet!

Learning Path:

  1. Step 1: Getting Started
    1. Accessible Documents Building Blocks
  2. Step 2: Learn by Format
    1. Word Processors
    2. Presentation Software
    3. Spreadsheets
  3. Step 3: Going Further
  4. Step 4: Explore Supporting Resources

Step 1: Getting Started

To get started creating accessible documents, let’s learn about so the first formatting items you should consider when you start making documents.

The total length of time to complete this section is approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Accessible Documents Building Blocks

  1. Accessible Headings discusses the importance of headings as an accessibility feature and proper heading use. Included are links to a practice document, the presentation transcript, and the presentation slides. (20 minutes)
  2. Accessible Lists explains what accessible lists are and how to create them. (10 minutes)
  3. Accessible Hyperlinks guides you through the creation of accessible hyperlinks. (15 minutes)
  4. Font Attributes discusses font attributes and how to format the text in your documents accessibly. (20 minutes)

Step 2: Learn by Format

Now that we’ve learned some basics, let’s focus on creating accessible documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. In the instructions below, we provide instructions on how to make Microsoft, iOS, and Google documents accessible. The principles outlined should be applied to all types of documents.

The total time to complete this section is approximately 8 hours.

Creating Accessible Documents

  1. Creating Accessible Documents Webinar Recording This Accessible Libraries webinar walks you through creating an accessible Word document, including the creation of accessible tables and images. It includes demonstrations and examples. (1 hour 45 minutes)
  2. Checklist: Creating Accessible Documents This checklist is an excellent resource to consult when creating accessible documents. It summarizes information from the Accessible Word Documents Webinar and the Summer Short Webinar series. (35 minutes)
  3. Creating Accessible Documents Webinar Slides You can download the PowerPoint slides from the Accessible Word Documents Webinar here, allowing you to reexamine specific topics and access links to suggested resources more easily. (40 minutes)

Creating Accessible Presentations

  1. Checklist: Creating Accessible Presentations helps ensure the file and the content you present are accessible is essential so everyone can access and understand the information you are discussing. The webinar series focuses on three presentation programs – Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and Google Slides. (38 minutes)
  2. Creating Accessible Presentations: Getting Started Webinar Recording is the first webinar in Accessible Libraries’ series on creating accessible presentations. The focus of this presentation is on ensuring your slides are accessible. This webinar series focuses on three presentation programs – Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, and Google Slides. (45 minutes)
  3. Creating Accessible Presentations: Features and Tools Webinar Recording outlines many of the features and tools available in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. This presentation discusses topics including tables, animations, annotations, comments, and using the PowerPoint Accessibility Checker. (45 minutes)
  4. Creating Accessible Presentations: Images, Graphics, and Videos Webinar Recording discusses how to make your images, graphics and videos accessible. Information covered in this webinar includes alt text, long descriptions, and captions! (1 hour)

The slides for each webinar are also available on Accessible Libraries:

Creating Accessible Spreadsheets

  1. Accessible Spreadsheet Checklist discusses and provides guidelines for creating accessible spreadsheets – in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Apple Numbers. Accessible spreadsheets create an inclusive experience and ensure the information is understandable for all library staff and patrons. (35 minutes)

Step 3: Going Further

Now that you’ve learned more about creating accessible documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, take this knowledge and go further!

The total time to complete this section is approximately 15 minutes.

  1. The Accessible Emails Checklist contains best practices to ensure that people with multiple print disabilities can easily consume the content of an email. (15 minutes)

Step 4: Explore Supporting Resources

Now that you have learned about creating accessible documents, you can build on that knowledge and explore supporting resources!

The total time to complete this section is up to you! We hope you enjoy exploring the supporting resources.