Creator: Accessible Libraries
Date Updated: October 13, 2022
This webinar about creating accessible headings is the first session of the Accessible Libraries Summer Short series focused on short tutorials that teach you how to make accessible documents. We provide a practice document that you can download (at the bottom of the page) for you to edit and follow along with in this series.
All the Accessible Libraries Summer Short webinars recordings are available:
What is a heading?
A heading is a short phrase describing what the next section is all about. Think of it as the title of the text located underneath it.
There are different heading levels available to add to your document. When adding headings, you nest them according to how you want your information organized. For example, if you have three subsections within a section of your document, you would use a heading level 1 for the first heading or title of that section and then a heading level 2 for the subsections, a heading level 3 for any subsections of the previous subsection, and so on. The headings and how they are nested create the structure for your document.
You should always add headings to your document in hierarchical order. Never skip a heading level. For example, don’t go from heading level 1 to heading level 3.
Why are headings important in your document?
In the context of accessibility, headings let readers easily navigate and locate the important aspects of a document.
Adding headings from the “Styles” pane available in wordprocessors is essential. If you do not apply headings from the “Style” pane, choosing to format the text manually (adjusting the font size, colour, bolding it, etc.), screen readers will not be able to navigate your document easily or at all.
We also recommend having text between all your document headings. It can even be a single sentence. It helps with navigation, especially with screen readers, so they know they haven’t missed any important information as they skip between headings.