Creating Accessible Forms in Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide


Welcome to the Accessibility Guy channel. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the process of creating accessible forms in Microsoft Word and converting them into PDFs for enhanced accessibility. Although Microsoft Word has limitations when it comes to creating fully accessible forms, this guide will help you lay the foundation for your form before converting it into a more accessible PDF format.

Laying the Foundation for Accessible Forms in Microsoft Word

  1. Begin by opening a new Microsoft Word document. Add your logo at the top of the page, followed by a heading level one to introduce the purpose of your form. For this example, we’ll use the title “Application for the Accessibility Guy Champion Program.”
  2. Structure your form with field names such as “First Name” and “Last Name,” followed by a colon and an underline. Use the tab key to add space for users to enter their information. Be sure to adjust the tabs as needed to align the lines.
  3. Copy and paste the field names to create additional fields, such as “Phone Number” and “Email Address.” Remember to adjust the tabs for proper alignment.
  4. Add a brief description of the form’s purpose at the top of the document, such as “This application will be used for consideration in joining the Accessibility Guy Champion Program.”
  5. Include a space for a signature by typing your name and changing the field to “Signature.” This is often requested on forms that require a user’s consent or agreement.
  6. To incorporate checkboxes or radio buttons for multiple-choice questions, create a bulleted list. This will help maintain the desired structure when you start developing checklist items in Adobe Acrobat. However, keep in mind that Microsoft Word’s accessibility options for form controls are limited, and further adjustments may be necessary when converting to a PDF.
  7. To access additional form controls, open the developer tab by going to File > Options > Customize Ribbon, and under main tabs, select the “Developer” checkbox. This will add the Developer tab to your toolbar, where you can find various form controls. While these controls are not fully accessible to all screen readers, they can be useful for building the structure of your document before converting it to a more accessible format.

Converting Your Microsoft Word Form to a PDF

  1. Save your Microsoft Word document once you have completed creating the form.
  2. To create a PDF file, select the Acrobat tab in Word and then click on “Create PDF.” This will generate a PDF version of your form.
  3. Review the tags in the newly created PDF to identify any accessibility issues. For example, checkboxes may not come through correctly, which will require further adjustments in Adobe Acrobat. Additionally, ensure that the reading order is logical and that all form fields have appropriate labels.


Creating accessible forms in Microsoft Word can be challenging due to its limitations, but with this comprehensive guide, you can lay the foundation for your form before converting it to a more accessible PDF format. In our next blog post, we will explore how to make your PDF form accessible using Adobe Acrobat, including fixing any issues with checkboxes and ensuring that all form fields have proper labels and reading order. Check out the link in the description below and join us next time to improve your form’s accessibility even further.

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