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Many commonly-used programs have built-in tools to improve the accessibility of your documents. Here's a guide to help you get started using some common accessibility checkers.

Getting the Most Out of Accessibility Checkers


  1. When editing within the Canvas Rich Content Editor, click on the Accessibility Checker icon.

  2. Then, the Accessibility Checker pane opens as a sidebar to the right and shows you the number of accessibility issues that it finds.

  3. Go through the identified issues by clicking on the Next button in the pane.
  4. You can then resolve issues directly through the sidebar, per the instructions there, and selecting Apply for each one.
  5. When all issues are resolved, the sidebar will indicate that no accessibility issues were detected with celebratory balloons!

Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel

  1. For Microsoft Office 365 (or 2019), click the Review tab and then click on the Check Accessibility button. For Earlier versions of Microsoft Office click on File, choose Check for Issues, then click on Check Accessibility.
  2. The Accessibility Checker pane opens on the right.
  3. There it will list Errors and Warnings and all of them must be addressed.
  4. Click on each one and you will be taken to that item in the document that is not currently accessible.
  5. Check for information and instructions at the bottom of the pane on how to “repair” each item.
  6. For Microsoft Word 365 (or 2019), click on the dropdown next to the error and get more information on how to repair each item.
  7. Microsoft has created some outstanding, brief training videos that will help you further learn how to make your Office documents accessible.
Microsoft Word video lessons
Microsoft Word: 7 lessons

Watch Word Lessons

Microsoft PowerPoint video lessons
Microsoft PowerPoint: 5 lessons

Watch PowerPoint Lessons

Microsoft Excel video lessons
Microsoft Excel: 3 lessons

Watch Excel Lessons

Grackle for Google Docs

  1. Launch Grackle by opening or creating a Google Doc, Slide or Sheet and selecting Add-ons > Grackle Docs from the top menu:

  2. The first time you launch the app you’ll be asked to authorize Grackle to connect to your Google Apps for Los Rios account:

  3. The Accessibility Check pane will open on the right and will present an accessibility check with a list of items below it that need to be remediated. Click on the different items that have an X to the left of them for further explanation on how to fix any issues:

  4. Choose Edit or agree to other choices to repair the items:

  5. In addition, the structure of your document is analyzed to help ensure the reading order of the content makes sense for people using assistive technology to read your document:

  6. You can also create an entirely accessible PDF of your document from the Grackle interface. If you have ensured the document is accessible and correctly structured, the resulting PDF will be accessible. In the Grackle pane, just click "Export to PDF:

Blackboard Ally

Los Rios provides Ally to use in each of your Canvas courses.

To request Ally to be applied to your courses, in Canvas, click the Help button in the Global Navigation bar. Then choose the Ally Pilot Opt-In Request Form. Fill out the form and Ally will be applied to your courses in two or three days.

For Students
  1. With Ally, in your courses, even without remediating your files, it provides alternate formats of your for students including tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, Electronic Braille, and Audio formats. Students have the choice to access Alternative formats when they click the down-arrow to the right of the document.

  2. The Alternative formats dialog box opens and offers many different formats for students to be able to access.

For Faculty

Here are different approaches to checking and fixing accessibility issues:

  1. Click through the Canvas pages in your course to use the score icons that indicate when items need alt text or documents need remediation.

  2. Click on the icon to remediate images or get more information about why and how to remediate documents. Ally will provide assistance on how to make images or documents more accessible:

  3. You can also work from the Canvas files menu using the Ally score icons get more information about why and how to remediate documents.

Remember that even without remediating your files, Ally provides alternate formats for students.