Intro to Universally Designed Documents

Top 3 Features of Universally Designed Documents

This page highlights the three most important aspects of electronic accessibility that you need to take away from this website. If you focus on improving your documents in these three categories, you will be making significant progress towards providing universally designed documents for students.

Make PDFs Searchable

Have you ever tried to read a scanned PDF that was blurry and rotated on the screen?

Have you ever been frustrated that you couldn't search a 50 page PDF for one important term you know it contains, or skip to the section you're most interested in?

The truth is, universally designed PDFs are easier for everyone to read.

Accessible PDFs give you the ability to:

  • Search Text
  • Select, Highlight, Copy & Paste Text
  • Listen to Text
  • Generate a Table of Contents

See the sidebar navigation links for instructions on scanning to PDF and converting to PDF.

Use Headings and Styles

Use styles, especially headings, to show level of importance in all types of documents (Word, PPT, PDF, Web Content, etc.)

Benefits include:

  • Provides Visual Structure / Hierarchy
  • Supports Reading Strategies
  • Allows Easier Navigation for Listeners
  • Generates Table of Contents

See the sidebar navigation links for instructions on using styles in different types of documents.

Add Alternate Text to Images

This is another principle that spans all types of electronic documents. If a document has non-text elements such as images or graphs, they need a short text description.

  • Describe the purpose of the image in context.
  • This allows users who listen to documents to hear a short description of the image.
  • Providing alt text ensures that listeners do not miss any important information.

See the sidebar navigation links for instructions on how to add alternate text in different types of documents.

Top Tips Quick Start Guide

A printable Quick Start Guide of the Top Tips for Word, PowerPoint and PDF is available for download: Download Word Version of Top Accessibility Tips Download PDF Version of Top Accessibility Tips