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Microsoft 365 Insiders can check out the new Accessibility Assistant in the Word app

word accessiblity assistant

We are seeing more and more software and applications being released that are paying more attention to offering accessibility to people who might need extra help. This week, the Microsoft 365 Insider Program is getting a new feature in Word that will give users a heads-up if their documents need some improvements in accessibility.

The company announced the new Accessibility Assistant in a post on the Microsoft 365 Insider blog. This feature will show a person-shaped icon next to a portion of a document with accessibility issues that require fixing to ensure everyone can read the document with ease.

word accessibity

The Accessibility Assistant will then offer suggestions for users to fix the issue. In the example above, where the color of the text could make it harder for some people to read it, the Accessibility Assistant offers some different color choices while keeping the overall theme.

The feature could also identify if an image in your document doesn't have an "alt text" description. In that case, the Accessibility Assistant will either let you put in a description or just mark the image in the document as decorative.

In addition to color and contrast issues in the document, the Accessibility Assistant can also flag and offer suggestions to fix "Media and Illustrations, Tables, Document Structure, and Document Access."

You can also manually check for any possible issues by clicking on the Review section on the status bar and then clicking on either Check Accessibility or Accessibility: Investigate.

If you are wondering why the feature is flagging issues in your document, you can use the Learning Tip option. It will give you the info on why the Accessibility Assistant feels it's important to make those changes.

The new feature is now available for Microsoft 365 Insiders to try out if they are in the Beta Channel running Version 2402 (Build 17315.20000) or later. There's no word on when the feature will be generally available to all Word users.

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