Checking Accessibility of Word for Mac 2011 Documents

I use a Mac laptop both at home and at work, so all of the documents I create for my classes are written in Word for Mac, currently version 2011.  While I definitely prefer my Mac to a PC, when trying to check the accessibility of the documents I’ve created, the Word for Mac version I’m using has its shortcomings.  Unlike Word for Windows, my Word for Mac does not have an Accessibility Checker.

I’ve been working hard on materials for my classes to make them accessible.  One of the first tasks was to add headings to my course syllabus.  Adding headings isn’t the final step, though; I needed to check the document to ensure it could be read by a screen reader.  For a quick way to check for problems before checking it with a screen reader, I used the “View” –> “Sidebar” –> “Document Map Pane” in Word for Mac 2011 so that I could see how the program was treating the headings I had applied.  Once I turned that on, I found out right away that some of the text in my document had been designated with a heading style along with the heading.  I was able to go back through and clean up the syllabus until the pane displayed the organizational structure I had intended.  But I’m not finished yet.  My next step will be to take the syllabus to a PC and check it with the Word for Windows’ Accessibility Checker.

Is the problem with Word for Mac enough to make me switch back to a PC.  Not a chance.  What I will do is get the newest version of Word for Mac.  I’m told it has an Accessibility Checker!  More on that later.

Anyone else working on a Mac with similar issues?  How have you addressed them?

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