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Document Formatting


1. Is the file name descriptive, and is the file in the .xlxs format?


How to test

Instruction: Look at the filename in Windows Explorer OR the title bar in MS Excel. An example of a non-descriptive file name is "Document1". An example of a descriptive filename is "FY17 Grants Awarded by State" (Figure 1). The file must be in the "*.xlsx" format for accessibility testing to be possible.

NOTE: If the document extension is not displayed, open your documents folder in Windows Explorer, select "Tools > Folder Options > View > uncheck 'Hide extensions for known file types' > OK."

Test A: Is the filename descriptive and does it identify the document or its purpose? If not, the document fails this test.

Figure 1: Example of Save As Excel Workbook (.xlsx) and descriptive filename

Screenshot of the Save As window. File name is descriptive.  Save as type is set to Excel Workbook.

Test B: Is the file in "Excel Workbook (.xlsx)" format? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

A descriptive filename that identifies the document or its pupose helps everyone (including people with disabilities) locate, open, and switch between documents. In addition, the document must be in a ".xlsx" file format.

Table 1: Examples of nondescriptive and descriptive filenames


Nondescriptive Filename Descriptive Filename
Untitled1.xls OMBReport387_2102014_v2.xlsx
Book1.xls Chapter6FY2016Justification.xlsx
Application.xlsm 2015Security_Training.xlsx


Text Formatting


2. Are built-in features used to organize content?


How to test

Test A: Does each sheet have a visual and/or logical reading order? If not, it fails this test.

Test B: : Can the sheet be navigated using the up, down, right or left arrow keys, and does it match the visual/logical reading order? If not, it fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Ensuring that each sheet has a visual and/or logical reading order helps assistive technology read content in an easy to understand manner.

Figure 2: Example of Excel Workbook with logical reading order

Screen shot of an accessible table.



Object Formatting


3. Are link names descriptive?


How to test

Test: Do links have meaningful names that describe their destination, function, and/or purpose OR are these determinable within context? If not, the worksheet fails this test.

Uniquely named link:

www.section508.gov

Links determinable within context:

Learn more about section 508 compliance

An unclear link name with no context:

click here

How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology users rely on meaningful names to determine the destination, function, or purpose of links. For example, multiple "click here" links confuse assistive technology users because the name for each link is the same, while the destinations may be different.

Naming and creating links:

To edit the name of a link, place your cursor on the link and edit the text. NOTE: deleting the last character in the link name will remove the link.

To insert a link, copy the link (e.g. URL), select the desired text, "right click" or "Shift+F10," select "Hyperlink," paste the link in the "Address" field and select "OK."


4. Is vital information in headers, footers, and watermarks duplicated in the document?


How to test

Instruction: Look for vital information in headers, footers, and watermarks (e.g. Respond by X Date, CONFIDENTIAL, or Do Not Distribute).

Test: Is the vital information duplicated near the beginning of the document? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology does not automatically read information in headers, footers, and watermarks, so you need to duplicate any vital information at or near the start of the related information.

Figure 3: Example of a header duplicated at the start of the related information

Example of a header duplicated at the start of the related information


5. Did you use built-in features to create data tables?


How to test

Instruction 1: Select a table and see if the "Picture Tools" shows up in the Ribbon instead of the "Table Tools" tab. If the "Picture Tools" tab shows up in the Ribbon, then it is a picture.

Test A: Is the worksheet free of pictures of tables? If not, the document fails this test.

Instruction 2: Place your cursor on a table cell and see if the worksheet is free of multi-level headings or any merged or split cells. If the "Merge & Center" tab shows up in the Ribbon, then it is a Merged or Split Cell.

Test B: Is the worksheet free of merged or split cells? If not, the document fails this test.

Instruction 3: Place your cursor on the first row and/or column of a table cell and see if the worksheet has identified the header row and/or column. If the "Name Manager" displays a Name then it has an identified header row and/or column.

Test C: Does the worksheet identify the header row and/or column? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology users need to identify column headers in data tables so the user can understand the association between table cells and their respective headers.

Select "Insert tab > Table."

To create an accessible data table you:

  1. Select the number of columns and rows you desire.
  2. Insert the data into your worksheet.
  3. Do not merge or split cells.
  4. Only type headers into the first row and/or column and identify the header row and/or column by opening the Name Manage (Alt + M, N). Check that each data table corresponds to a Name and that the Name and Range follow the following formats:
    1. For data tables with one row or column headers:
      "Column Title[Name]..D10" and "=Sheet 1!$A$1", where A1 is substituted for the first cell of the table and D10 is substituted for the last cell of the table.

      Screen shot of Column Title Region identified.


    2. For data tables with one column of row headers:
      "Row Title[Name]..D10" and "=Sheet1!$A$1", where A1 is substituted for the first cell of the table and D10 is substituted for the last cell of the table.

      Screen shot of Row Title Region Example.


    3. For data tables with both one row and one column of headers: "Title[Name]..D10" is substituted for the last cell of the table.

      Screen shot of Title Region identified.


6. Do images and other objects have alternative text?


How to test

Instruction 1: Examine the surrounding text in cells (either before or after) for text that describes the object.

Test A: Does the image/object/shape have descriptive text or an appedix? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Screen readers cannot infer meaning from images and other objects. Images and other objects include pictures, images of text, images of tables, shapes, icons with hyperlinks, etc. Therefore, you must add descriptive text to images and other objects by putting information in surrounding text or in an appendix.

Figure 4: Example of a an image, object/shape with descriptive text

Print checklist with a picture of a printer.


Color Formatting


7. Are colors and other visual characteristics (such as size, shape, and location) that convey information also described in text?


How to test

Using only color or other visual characteristics to convey meaning will not provide comparable access to people who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind. Find where you have used color and/or other visual characteristics to convey meaning such as green, yellow, red, etc.

Test: Is there text that conveys the meaning of the color or other visual characteristics? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

The following layout table describes the progress for three projects using colors to symbolize the current project status. Adding text in addition to the color provides comparable information to users of assistive technology and people who are colorblind.

Table 2: Example of a Status Layout Table Using Color and Text


Project A ON TIME
Project B AT RISK
Project C LATE

Use text to duplicate the meaning of the color or visual characteristics (such as size, shape, and location).


8. Is the contrast ratio between text and background sufficient?


NOTE: If the document text is black on white background (or close to it), you do not need to perform this test. This test requires Colour Contrast Analyser (an external application).


How to test

Execute the Colour Contrast Analyser. Select "Download" (the application can be executed without downloading it onto your computer). Open the Colour Contrast Analyser. Drag the "Foreground eyedropper" icon over a sample of your text or image of text. Drag the "Background eyedropper" icon over a sample of your background color.

Figure 5: Passing result for the Colour Contrast Analyser

Screen shot of Color Contrast Analyzer

Test: Have you formatted with the correct color contrast ratio? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

People who are colorblind or have low vision will have comparable access if there is sufficient contrast between the text and the background. The contrast standards are:


Table 3: Table with Color Contrast Ratios by Text Size or Type


Type or Size of Text Contrast Ratio
Standard 4.5:1
Large Text (14 pt bold or 18 pt regular) 3:1
Incidental text, text overlaid on images, and logotypes Excluded from requirement

Create content with text or images of text that use color or shading with sufficient color contrast. If the contrast ratio does not pass, then adjust your foreground or background until it does pass.


Miscellaneous


9. Are descriptions of embedded audio, video, and multimedia files accurate?


How to test

NOTE: If the document does not contain audio, video, or multimedia files, you do not need to perform this test.

Instruction: Activate the audio-only, video-only, or multimedia file.

Test A: Is there an accurate and complete text transcript for multimedia files, text description for audio files, and synchronized caption and/or audio description for video files? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

If you embed an audio-only, video-only, or multimedia file that contains meaningful information into your MS Excel document, you must also provide additional information so that individuals with disabilities have comparable access to the information.

  • Audio-only
       o Accurate and complete transcript
  • Video-only
       o Accurate and complete text description
  • Multimedia (audio and video)
       o Accurate and complete synchronized captions and audio descriptions

10. Did you avoid forms while using MS Word 2013?


How to test

Instruction: Look for interactive Excel form fields. Ignore blank table fields, blank spaces, or underlines that users fill in text are not interactive Excel form fields. You are looking for the Excel built-in form features that are interactive and can collect data. These Excel form fields cannot be made accessible.

Test A: Is the document free of all MS Excel form fields? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Forms created in Excel cannot be made accessible for users of assistive technology and OMB certifications are likely required.


11. Did you exclude flashing objects?


How to test

Test: Is the document free of all flashing objects? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Create your content without using flashing objects. Flashing objects can cause seizures and should never be used.


12. Does the Excel need an alternative version?


How to test

Federal agencies have the goal to produce one accessible document for everyone. However, there may be times when this is not feasible. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact the AT Team to ensure an alternative version is necessary as you are still required to create an alternative version that is accessible, up-to-date, and has equivalent content.