Headings in Microsoft Word

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Headings in Microsoft Word for Screen Readers

A good heading structure is an important accessibility consideration in Microsoft Word documents. Headings allow screen reader users to navigate through the page easily and make the page more usable for everyone. Many people do not use true styles in Word.

For example, when creating a heading, they simply change the font, enlarge the font size, make it bold, etc. If this is done, the document has no real structure that can be discerned by a screen reader.

When encountering a lengthy Word document, sighted users often scroll the page quickly and look for big, bold text (headings) to get an idea of its structure and content. Screen readers and other assistive technology users also have the ability to navigate Word documents by heading structure, assuming Word’s Heading styles are used.

Pages should be structured in a hierarchical manner as follows:

Heading 1 is usually a page title or the main content heading. It is the most important heading, and there is generally just one.

Heading 2 is usually a major section heading.

Heading 3 is usually a sub-section of the Heading 2.

Heading 4 is usually a sub-section of the Heading 3, and so on.

Note: Link to GCFLearnFree for more information about how to use “Styles” in Microsoft Word.

Oklahoma WorksOklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, and Oklahoma ABLE Tech have collaborated to provide this information and advice to those seeking accommodation in the workplace.  

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