Microsoft Office: Excel, Word, PowerPoint

Microsoft Office: Excel, Word, PowerPoint

Some content on this site based on material from Michigan State Web Accessibility with their permission.

Adding Image ALT Tags

Modern versions of Microsoft Office allow you to add ALT text to inserted images. If these files are converted to HTML, the alt text is generally preserved. Please visit the Adding image ALT Tags page to see the complete list of steps detailing how to add ALT tags to images for different versions of Microsoft Office

Cautions on Converting Word and Excel to HTML

Although Microsoft products include a function to convert content to HTML, the implementation is not regarded as standards-compliant. Below is a sample of what codes are generated by the Save as Web file option in Microsoft Word.

If need convert to HTML, you can look for the Filtered Web option (available in Office 2007 for Windows only) or you can purchase a plug-in to audit the accessibility of the output file (Windows only).

Intended Result

This is unformatted text.

View the Code

<p>This is unformatted text</p>


Actual Result (Inaccessible)

(Font is fixed to 12 point, Times New Roman)

This is unformatted normal text.

View the code

<p class=MsoNormal>This is unformatted text</p>

p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";}


Accessibility Issues of Word Generated HTML

  1. Styles use fixed font sizes, not relative font sizes. Fixed font sizes won't allow the text to be zoomed in Internet Explorer 6 or earlier.

  2. The font will probably be fixed to Times New Roman, which is designed for print, not for computer monitors.

  3. Style sheets are embedded and are time consuming to remove manually. In fact, all Word styles in your template are exported even if they are not used in the original document.

  4. Word HTML allows designers to specify unusual fonts and/or symbols, which may not be available on all computers.

  5. If Smart Quotes are turned on, then they will be converted to a Unicode numeric character or left intact. Older browsers may not be able to decipher these symbols.

NOTE: Some text editors, such as Global Writer, export HTML with less embedded formatting.

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General Availability

Make sure your audience has ready access to Microsoft Office packages, and to the same version you are using. Although Word is readily available at Penn State, it may not be elsewhere. In some cases, a different option, like pure HTML or a PDF, may reach your audience better.

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