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Document Accessibility for Theses and Dissertations

Document Accessibility

As a public land-grant institution, WSU aims to make research accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities who may be using assistive devices to read online. You can help make your thesis or dissertation accessible to these devices by following basic guidelines for structuring your Word document.

Accessible documents have:

Headings and title: Sections are marked using hierarchical headings (h1, h2, etc.). The document is also titled for screen readers.

Hyperlinks: Links are identified with descriptive text rather than "click here" or "look here."

Tables: Tables should have clear structure and headers for screen readers.

Alt Text: Images and tables should be described using the alternative text/alt text field. These descriptions can then be read by screen readers.

Lists: Use Word's automatic bullet/list styles to create structured lists.

Color Contrast: Don't convey information by color alone; be sure there is sufficient contrast for your content to be readable.

Checking Accessibility

It is far easier to run an accessibility check in Word before exporting a pdf. To run the Accessibility Checker in Word:

  1. Select the "File" tab in the main software ribbon and then select Info.
  2. Next, Check for Issues and then Check Accessibility. 

An Instructional Video from Montana State University

While this video was created for students at Montana State University, it provides a great deal of information that is relevant for anybody working to achieve document accessibility.

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