Creating Accessible Documents

August 24, 2021

HUIT Digital Accessibility logo with flowing lines and icons to indicate sight, touch, cognition, and hearing

What are accessible documents?


Digital accessibility means the digital content we create at Harvard should be usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. This includes the documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations that we create every day. Following accessibility best practices such as tagging your document with headings, writing good alternative text, and being mindful of color will make your documents more accessible to more people. Here are some tips to get you started.

How can I get started creating accessible documents? 


If you use Microsoft 365 Office


Word, Excel, and PowerPoint each have a quick and easy accessibility checker right in the app. When you’re creating a document:

  • Click Review in the top menu bar

  • Then click Check Accessibility

You’ll get a report letting you know if there are any accessibility issues, like hard-to-read text contrast or missing alternative text, and how to fix them.

More tips:

If you use Google Docs


Grackle is a third-party service that scans your Google Docs and Slides for accessibility issues, and then guides you through the process of fixing them. The Grackle add-ons are currently available for users with Google accounts with,, or email addresses. Learn more and get started with Grackle.

More tips:

Where can I get help?


We’re here to help! If you need help creating accessible documents, or if you have any digital accessibility questions:


Back to School: Accessibility Accommodations


Welcome back to campus! If you are a student who would like to request accommodations, contact your school's Local Student Disability Coordinator (LDC). Learn more about campus accessibility on the University Disability Resources website

Harvard celebrates the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


On July 26, community members from across the University celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with an introduction from President Larry Bacow. 

Watch the video to learn about initiatives that support students, staff, faculty, and the public with disabilities, and how everyone at the University has a role to play in making sure Harvard is inclusive and welcoming to all. 


Upcoming trainings and events