Office 365’s Recent Updates Simplify Accessibility Options

During the company’s Surface event this year, Microsoft showcased a lot of its accessibility features integrated into its software and hardware. This month, Redmond has continued the work. The recent accessibility features for windows 10, such as the updates to the narrator text-to-speech program and the support for Braille, were made public. Microsoft is also going a step forward and rolling out several new updates for Office that are created to assist the users to easily create content, which is accessible and readable by all people.

New accessibility features from Microsoft

According to Kirk Koenigsbauer, the Office VP for Microsoft, his team already moved this recent Accessibility Checker at the front and centre of every primary Office application from PowerPoint, Word and Excel to Outlook, Visio and OneNote. The feature, located in the Review tab, is going to analyse a document and suggest modifications or fixes, which is going to make sure that the content is consumed by everyone without restrictions regardless of their different levels of mobility, cognition, hearing and vision. Aside from ensuring the documents are readable, the focus is to assist users be better in terms of building hugely accessible documents throughout time.

Outlook is also going to benefit from the Accessibility Checker through the addition of a MailTip, which alerts co-workers about possible accessibility preferences for the person they are intending to compose an email to. The MailTip is going to remind them to run the Accessibility Checker prior to sending the email so that it is ensured that everything is going to be readable by each person in a team.


Alt-text recommendations

Lastly, PowerPoint and Word are going to provide intelligent and automatic generated alternate texts for the images in presentations and documents. With the use of the Computer Vision Cognitive Service, an in-house Microsoft service, PowerPoint and Word are able to analyse images, while saving time through the proposal of text descriptions for the users having visual impairments.

The Accessibility Checker is currently offered in Windows machines and some Office for Mac applications. On the other hand, the alt-text recommendations are still coming soon, as stated by Microsoft.

For more information about Office tools, it is best to avail of courses, such as a Microsoft Word training or an Excel training, to know the ins and outs of the Microsoft applications.