Accessible Digital Documents

Digital DocumentsThis resource provides information about common office documents and accessibility. It was developed as a supplement to our Accessible Web Design page when we realized that much (if not most) of what gets posted on the web either starts out as a simple document, created by a word processor or other office suite product, and is then converted into a web page, PDF or other web-based resource. Often in this conversion process, accessibility is not taken into consideration and the final result is a web document that cannot be used by all. This is particularly problematic in large organizations where there are many content producers. It is important for content producers – especially those creating content that will be sent out to the public – to ensure their document are accessible to all.

To this end, we have created this resource which provides information and resources to help you create accessible documents.

Table of Contents

  1. Training
  2. General Resources
  3. PDF Conversion Tools
  4. Accessible Web Resources
  5. Podcasts
  6. Video Captioning
  7. Description
  8. More Captioning Resources
  9. E-Mail and E-Newsletters


Accessible Digital Documents –
UM University College Faculty Institute – May 2018

Recent webinars from Maine CITE and Maine AEM Programs

General Resources

The following list of on-line resources was developed with assistance from all of my good friends on the WebAIM Web Accessibility Listserv. Thank you!

The National Center on Disabilities and Access to Education – Goals Project has developed a new set of resources, or “cheat sheets” to help assist individuals in the quest to create accessible content. GOALS currently has cheat sheets available, addressing the following topics:

  • Creating accessible documents in Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • PDF conversion in Microsoft Word
  • Creating accessible PDF documents in Acrobat X

View the cheat sheets – include Microsoft, Adobe and YouTube products…

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Accessibility Resource Roundup, links to resources on ICT accessibility that address many different aspects of the topic. Each has a brief description that captures some of the highlights that you will find in the website that the link points to.

Accessible Digital Office Documents (ADOD), a project by Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) published a resource that provides information about making accessible documents with office products from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Corel, and Google. View Accessibility of Office Documents and Office Applications… has published a list of downloadable articles that describe methods for creating accessible digital documents using a variety of office products. View Create Accessible Electronic Documents…

Microsoft has published an extensive resource designed to assist users in making MS-Office documents accessible. View Creating accessible Word documents…

Berman Accessibility Ribbon for Word – The Berman Accessibility Ribbon (version 1.0) is an add-on to Microsoft Word for Windows (versions 2010, 2013, and 2016). (Unfortunately Word for Mac … even the 2016 test release … still lacks the accessibility features of Word for Windows, so the ribbon only works for Word for Windows). View information about Berman Accessibility Ribbon for Word…

Braille Works 508 Document Compliance – Braille Works has developed a (paid service) solution for repair or remediation of your documents so you can meet WCAG and 508 compliance standards. WCAG and Section 508 document compliance can be difficult and navigating these waters is not a job for the inexperienced. Elements of a document such as paragraph structure, tables, charts, lists etc, need to be properly organized and tagged to provide true accessibility. More information about the Braille Works paid solution…

Information Technology for Minnesota Government has posted resources on accessible digital documents.

Keyboard Shortcuts – MS-Office

Many individuals navigate on their computers without a mouse or pointing device. This may be done with a traditional keyboard, a modified or specialized keyboard or through a combination of switches. Here are some resources listing the keyboard combinations to activate various features or navigate through digital documents created in one of the applications in MS-Office:

PDF Conversion tools/services

Below we have pulled together list of some “tools and services” that can assist in this process of converting PDFs to accessible digital documents. Thanks to Jiatyan Chen of Stanford University, Damian Sian of Princeton University and Tristan Price of Mt. Hood Community College who generated the initial list. Thank you to Krista Greear at Inclusive Instructional Design for some recommendations. No endorsement of any of these products implied.

Conversion SERVICES

EnablePDF – Open Access Technologies – This remediation service is delivered via the internet. They take example documents from clients, perform compliance analysis against the WCAG 2 and PDF/UA standards, and re-mediate the files to meet those standards. Clients will able to submit similar PDF documents in bulk to the service, which will make them accessible and return them to the client.

SensusAccess – SensusAccess is a self-service, alternate media solution for educational institutions. SensusAccess allows students, faculty, staff and alumni to automatically convert documents into a range of alternate media including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille. The service can also be used to convert inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files, JPG pictures and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into more accessible and less tricky formats.

CommonLook – NetCentric Technologies, a global leader in document accessibility, provides software products and professional services enabling faster, more cost-efficient, and more reliable processes for achieving compliance with the leading PDF and document accessibility standards, including WCAG, PDF/UA, and Section 508. CommonLook software makes the creation, remediation, and management of accessible PDF and Microsoft Office documents easier than ever before.

247 Accessible Documents – On-demand Accessible Documents – Upload a Document and receive an Accessible PDF, Accessible Word Document or an Accessible PowerPoint that meets Accessibility Standards & Guidelines 2.0 in 5 days.

inclüd – Accessible content conversion, creation, and consulting services, inclüd provides institutions with a path to accessible information, ensuring that those with exceptional needs can access content tailor made for them.

Equidox Equidox is an automated solution that simplifies the process of discovering, converting, and publishing PDF documents to WCAG 2.0 compliant HTML.

BrailleWorks – Braille Works is a solution for repair or remediation of your documents so organizations can meet WCAG and 508 compliance standards. WCAG and Section 508 document compliance can be difficult and navigating these waters is not a job for the inexperienced. Elements of a document such as paragraph structure, tables, charts, lists etc, need to be properly organized and tagged to provide true accessibility.

T-Base Communications – T-Base Communications takes one digital file and converts it into every accessible format you need: braille, large print, audio or accessible PDF. Guided automation and QA by our subject matter experts ensures a high-quality end product, consistently.

Microassist – The entire Microassist team invests time in understanding a client’s needs and the desired outcome of their training and learning strategy. Microassist creates, delivers, and hosts custom training for our clients’ internal and external learners with a special emphasis in usability and accessibility.

PubCom – PubCom has been developing accessible materials since the mid-1990s, before the US Sec. 508 amendment was passed and put into effect in 2000. They offer a suite of services from custom designed accessible templates to an audit of public-facing documents.

RoboBraille – RoboBraille is accessible 24/7 as a self-service solution and is available free of charge to individual, non-commercial user not affiliated with an institutional setting obligated to provide support (academic institution, organisation, association or similar). Users need not register in order to use the service. The objective is to support and promote self-sufficiency of people with special needs socially, throughout the educational system and on the labour market. As an additional benefit, RoboBraille helps to protect the privacy of of those who need material in alternate formats.

Conversion TOOLS

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC – The defacto PDF conversion tool. Includes an Accessibilty Checker to assess your PDF files.

axaio MadeToTagaxaio MadeToTag is an Adobe InDesign CS6 to CC plug-in to properly prepare InDesign documents for export as accessible, tagged PDF file – much more easier, faster and more reliable. The tagged PDF complies with the terms of the PDF/UA-Standard, the international standard for universally accessible PDF. PDF/UA is important to all organizations and companies delivering documents which have to be conform to regulations requiring accessible electronic content including WCAG 2.0, Section 508 in the US.

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 2) – PAC 2 quickly tests PDF files for accessibility. PAC 2 is used to support expert and affected tests during assessment. NOTE: The company offering this software, Access for All, is based in Switzerland, you may need to use translation to understand the content.

Grackle Docs – Grackle is a cloud-based service that can convert Google Doc, Sheet, PDF and Slide into an accessible PDF. Used with Grackle’s Accessibility Checkers, Grackle Docs brings compliance, remediation and version control under one roof.

Accessible Web Development Resources











The following is a list of captioning service providers from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) and details resources close to Maine.


Automatic Sync Technologies
Haywood, CA
(877) 278-7962
Web site:

3 Play Media
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 764-5189
Web site:

Karasch & Associates
West Chester, PA 19382
1-800-621-5689 (V)
(619) 696-2008 (FAX)

Closed Caption Maker
Harrisburg, PA 17104
1-800-527-0551 (V)
Website: Closed Caption Maker

Custom Captions
Provo, UT 84601
(801) 370-9878 (V)
Richardson, TX 75083
214-801-7606 (V)

Video Caption Corporation
Stanfordville, New York 12581
800-705-1203 (V)
800-705-1207 (FAX)

Video Production Services
North Monmouth, ME 04265
933-3896 (V)
1-800-848-8550 (V)
Website: Video Production Services

Frameweld/National Captioning Institute
Recap’d Captioning Service
Long Island City, NY 11101

LNS Captioning
Portland, OR 97205
503-299-6200 (V)
800-366-6201 (V)
Web site:

For more information on captioning and captioning service vendors, see the website for Captioned Media Program.

Accessible E-mail and E-Newsletters

The following information comes from the ITACCESS listserv from Educause. The list of e-mail and e-newsletter accessibility resources was developed by Sandi Arendalkowski, Accessibility & User Experience Designer, UW-MadisonThank you, Sandi!




Revised: 11/30/2018