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MS Office & PDF

Microsoft Word

MS Word is one of the most common programs used to edit documents for accessibility and when converting materials into alternate formats. The DOCX format is widely supported by many assistive technologies and may be used a basis for converting into other formats (e.g., braille, audio, etc.). The drawback of MS Word documents is that they may not provide a one-to-one relationship to the layout and organization of the printed instructional materials.

Microsoft PowerPoint

When using MS PowerPoint, there are several procedures to follow to include accessibility in the presentation. These changes will improve the accessibility of the PowerPoint presentation itself and will support the accuracy of the information when converting to other formats (e.g., accessible PDF, MS Word, etc.).

Authoring Practices

PDF Documents

While PDF document accessibility has improved over the past few years, students with print-based disabilities may still find challenges when attempting to interact and read PDF documents due to issues with compatible PDF readers or with how the document was originally authored. Generally speaking, creating accessible PDF documents is easier from Microsoft Office applications, Adobe InDesign, or other word-processing applications rather than fixing the PDF document directly.

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat DC is used by alternate media specialists to edit and manipulate PDF files that have been scanned or provided by publishers. Acrobat can also be used to remediate PDF documents and check if a document has potential accessibility errors.

  • Accessibility Repair Workflow
  • Using the Accessibility Checker
  • Acrobat Accessibility Features

For PDF documents that have many pages and contain multiple accessibility issues, such as incorrect text or lack of a document structure, it may be more effective to process the PDF document using OCR applications. OCR solutions, including OmniPage and Abbyy Finereader, can process large PDF files faster and output documents that require fewer remediation steps.


Equidox is a web-based application intended to facilitate the remediation of inaccessible PDF documents into HTML, EPUB, or accessible PDF versions. The CCC Accessibility Center has acquired a limited number of licenses for California Community Colleges staff. At this time, licenses are limited to approximately three to four per college. To gain access to Equidox, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a request for Equidox.

It is strongly recommended that college staff do not upload documents containing Protected Health Information (PHI) or other content associated with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Due to the nature in which documents are stored, this information does not meet legal privacy requirements.

There are training videos and additional information on how to use Equidox on the PDF accessibility web page.