Design Accessible Documents

Accessibility graphicHere are some useful resources to help you to make your documents more accessible to persons with disabilities, in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

Reference Guides

Software Tools

  • Use the built-in accessibility checker in Microsoft Office (Review > Check Accessibility). The checker will guide you through the issues it finds, and provide instructions on how to deal with them.
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro allows you to touch up a PDF to enhance its accessibility. First, make sure your original document is as accessible as possible in Word, PowerPoint, etc. before you convert it to PDF. Then use the Accessibility tools pane in Adobe Acrobat Pro to double-check the accessibility of the PDF and touch up issues that you may find. You can use Acrobat Pro for free at, York's virtual software environment. If you are a frequent user, you may wish to inquire with your IT support team about purchasing it.
  • Keep in mind that automated checking tools cannot check everything in your document--you may have ALT text on all your images, but is it meaningful ALT text?


  • The Centre for Staff Development & Technical Learning offers a three-hour hands-on course on Designing Accessible Documents. Please check the York Employee Learning Calendar for the next public offering of this course.
  • We can also visit your location to do a demonstration for 10 or more people: please contact us at to inquire.
  • Creating Accessible PDFs (online course from This course includes an introduction to the principles of document accessibility and a chapter on rehabilitating an existing PDF.

Resources for Web Page Accessibility

if you're responsible for maintaining a York website or WordPress blog, visit the AODA Web Accessibility at York website, where you'll find many useful resources.

Resources for Other Software

More Information About AODA

Visit the York Accessibility Hub for more tools and resources to understand accessibility issues and your obligations to help York become more accessible for everyone.