Accessibility Features in Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 continues the dedication to both making Microsoft Office products more available to people with disabilities, as well as helping all users create more accessible content. In addition to many features that you might be familiar with, Office 2010 includes several new and updated accessibility features.

In this article


Microsoft Office Backstage View

One of the more obvious changes in Office 2010 is that actions previously found on the File menu or Microsoft Office Button can now be found in the Microsoft Office Backstage view. This is where you will find the tools that you use to do things to a whole file, instead of to the content that it contains, such as Print and Save. By displaying more space and providing more detail about available commands, accessibility-conscious users will have more context and information about how to use commands. In addition, by taking advantage of more screen space, commands are more logically presented in the user interface.

To learn more about the Backstage view , see What and where is the Backstage view?

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Microsoft Fluent user interface (ribbon)

Office 2010 has applied the Fluent user interface, or the ribbon, to all Office applications, providing a consistent look across applications. Additionally, to aid users who move through the ribbon by using their keyboard, the it is now possible to jump from Group to Group by pressing Ctrl + Right/Left Arrow on a ribbon tab to move to the next/previous Group.

Additionally, you can now customize your ribbon, making it even easier to find the functions you use most often. To learn more, see the Customize the Ribbon article, or watch the Video: Customize the ribbon. To learn how to customize your Quick Access Toolbar, see Customize the Quick Access Toolbar.

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Accessibility Checker

Word 2010, Excel 2010, and PowerPoint 2010 include an Accessibility Checker to help you create more accessible content. Accessibility Checker runs automatically while you author your file, identifying areas that might make it challenging for users who have disabilities to view or use it. Through the Accessibility Checker task pane, opened from the Backstage view , you can review and fix potential problems with your content.

To learn more about how this new feature works, see Accessibility Checker. If you’re an Administrator for a large organization, see Accessibility Checker Group Policy settings to learn how to implement and manage the Accessibility Checker company-wide.

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New add-ins for PowerPoint and Word

The Save as Daisy ad-in has been updated for Word 2010.This lets you save your Word documents in Open XML format, and then convert it into Daisy format talking book. To learn more and get download information, see Using the Save as Daisy add-in for Word.

PowerPoint introduces a new tool that lets you add closed captions to audio and video that you imbed in a presentation. To learn more and get download information, see Sub-titling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint (STAMP).

Other improvements

  • It is now possible to add a description to tables, PivotTables, images, shapes, etc. This description is similar to a second level of Alt text, and helps authors describe complex content to readers with disabilities or other needs who may read the document.

     Note    This feature is not available for tables in Publisher 2010.

  • Press in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to open the selection pane that makes it easier to select floating objects in your file.
  • Keyboard shortcuts have been added so you can rotate and re-size shapes in your file.

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Additional information and keyboard shortcuts

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Applies to:
Access 2010, Excel 2010, InfoPath 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Project 2010, Publisher 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Visio 2010, Word 2010