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Take a step toward a more inclusive and accessible workplace

Immediately start increasing the number of Office files that get checked for accessibility issues and increase the user’s likelihood to investigate and fix those issues.

If you’re an admin, you can configure a policy setting so that accessibility issues are checked for automatically while your users work in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

What the policy setting does

When you enable the policy setting, a reminder appears in the Status Bar of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on devices running Windows. This gives users an at-a-glance notification about whether accessibility issues they ought to investigate exist in their document, workbook, or presentation.

Behind the scenes, Office is using the same Accessibility Checker scanning engine that has existed since Office 2010 to determine if accessibility issues exist. All the processing and analysis of the document happens on the user’s local device. No content is shared with Microsoft as part of this scan.

Users can choose to turn off the background checker temporarily only for the current session. Restarting a session of the application will revert to automatically checking accessibility issues again.

Even without the policy setting, users can choose to turn this on themselves from File > Options > Ease of Access. Or they can run the Accessibility Checker at any time from Review > Check Accessibility on the toolbar.

How to configure the policy setting

There are 3 separate policy settings available, one each for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Each one is named “Check for accessibility issues while editing.”

To use this policy setting with Group Policy, download the most current version of the Administrative Template files (ADMX/AMDL) for Office. The policy setting can be found under User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\{app  name}\File Tab\Check Accessibility in the Group Policy Management tool.

Notes: Replace {app name} in the path listed above with one of the following, depending on whether you’re configuring the policy setting for Word, Excel, or PowerPoint:

  • Microsoft Word 2016

  • Microsoft Excel 2016

  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2016

If you’ve deployed Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise in your organization, you can use the Office cloud policy service to configure this policy setting.

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