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DAT overview


Add a document title, apply title and heading styles, add bullets and breaks.

Using these functions to create a sound document structure ensures proper tagging is used for all elements within the document. This allows people who are blind or have mobility impairments to efficiently scan document content.

The Structure group has 13 commands: Doc title, Title, Subtitle, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, Bullets, Numbering, Multilevel List and Breaks.


Insert an image and describe the 'purpose' for an image, also known as alternative text, or alt-text.

Providing a description (a text alternative) of the images and objects in your document is important for those individuals who cannot see the images you have included.

The text or description you include will be read aloud by a screen reader. The text alternative must convey the purpose of the image or object.

The Image group has 2 commands: Insert image and Set alt-text.


Optimise data tables for accessibility.

Specifying the table type (for example column headers only) provides context and assists navigation of the table's contents for people who are blind. Sighted users gain a holistic view of information by associating table data with header cells. This meaning can be relayed to readers who are blind. However data tables won't be interpreted correctly if the table type is not specified.

The Tables group has 2 commands: Insert table and Set type.


Insert a table of contents, list of tables, images or equations, create hyperlinks and include headers, footers and page numbers.

Readers who are blind or who have mobility impairments rely on their keyboard, rather than a mouse, to navigate documents.

Providing a linked table of contents and document hyperlinks helps users 'jump' around your document. Informative headers and footers and page numbering help people with cognitive impairment orient themselves, but they also improve understanding for everyone.

The Navigation group has 6 commands: Table of Contents, Table of Figures, Link, Header, Footer and Page number.


Add footnotes, endnotes and captions

Referencing 'additional' content, such as source author, empowers all users to either read or skip optional information. Footnotes and endnotes are automatically numbered and renumbered, and so are also much easier to maintain than manually entered reference information.

Add a caption to a table or picture to briefly summarise the object and improve understanding.

The References group has 3 commands: Footnote, Endnote and Cation.


Create space around text and paragraphs, align text, include borders and change font type and size.

Creating space using this type of formatting is more effective than using hard returns and empty paragraphs. Empty paragraphs are announced as 'blanks' by screen readers. Navigating through multiple 'blanks' adds unnecessary noise, and screen reader users might think they've reached the end of the document.

The Design group has 8 commands: Spacing, Align Text Left, Align Text Right, Decrease Indent, Increase Indent, Borders, Font and Font Size.


Insert and format charts and optimise complex charts for accessibility. Some people find it difficult to perceive the differences in colours and cannot access information that is conveyed using only colour. Use this function to add a pattern overlay to each data series.

The Charts group has 3 commands: Chart, Format and Picture.


Create forms and optimise them for accessibility by adding screen reader accessible labels via the Add Help Text function of the Properties menu.

All interactive form fields must be clearly labelled using 'Help' text so that they are correctly announced to screen reader users.

Forms group. The Forms group has 6 commands: Edit Box, Check Box, Combo Box, reset, Properties, Restrict Editing.


Run an accessibility check, as well as find and fix instances of insufficient text colour contrast.

Use the inbuilt screen reader, WORDS, to simulate the experience of users who are blind.

Create a 'clean-code' HTML version of your document by saving the document or by selecting a portion of the document.

Inspect group. The Inspect group has 6 commands: Check Accessibility, Find Insufficient Colour Contrast, Doc Inspect, Save as HTML, Copy HTML and WORDS screen reader.

DAT tooltips

Vision Australia has complied the following tooltips to clearly explain the purpose or function of each feature within the DAT. A useful reference for DAT users, the tooltips are provided here as Microsoft Word tooltips are currently not keyboard or screen reader accessible.

This section also contains some information that is not present in the tooltips.

Features customised or developed for the DAT by Vision Australia are indicated by an asterisk. Those without an asterisk are default functions within Microsoft Word.

Note: The wording of the tooltips differ between Microsoft Word 2010, 2013 and 2016.

Structure group box

* Doc title

Set and edit the document title assigned in properties.

Tip! The document title assigned in properties will be exported to PDF. The document title is the first element a screen reader announces when it opens a PDF document.

* Title

Apply the Title style.

When titles are implemented correctly a tag is attached to the subtitle. This allows screen readers to announce the text as a title.

* Subtitle

Apply the Subtitle style.

When subtitles are implemented correctly a tag is attached to the subtitle. This allows screen readers to announce the text as a subtitle.

* H1

Apply the Heading 1 style.

When headings are implemented correctly a tag is attached to each heading level. This allows screen readers to announce the heading level of the text.

The Heading 1 tooltip above is the same for all heading levels (H1 to H6).


Start a bulleted list.

Select the arrow to choose different bullet styles.


Start a numbered list.

Select the arrow to choose different numbering formats.

Multilevel List

Start a multilevel list.

Select the arrow to choose different multilevel list styles.

Create a multilevel list to organise items or create an outline. You can also change the look of individual keys in your list or add numbering to headings in your document.


Insert page and section breaks.

Add a break at your current location to have the text pick it up again at the next page, section or column.

Images group box

* Insert image

Insert an image and set the alternative text (alt-text). A screen reader will identify an image on the page and announce the alt-text.

Warning! Screen readers will usually ignore alt-text applied to floating images. Wrap all images In Line with Text.

* Set alt-text

View or edit alternative text (alt-text) for all images selected. A screen reader will identify an image on the page and announce the alt-text.

Tip! To view or edit alt-texts for all images in the document select Ctrl + A then Set image. Warning! Screen readers will usually ignore alt-text applied to floating images. Wrap all images In Line with Text.

Tables group box

* Insert table

Insert table and set table type. This feature will optimise the data table for accessibility. Screen readers can announce cell data with its associated headers.

* Set type

View or set table types for all tables selected. This feature will optimise the data table for accessibility. Screen readers can announce cell data with its associated headers.

The table type also governs how the table will be transcribed to HTML (see Save as HTML and Copy HTML) and how the WORDS screen reader will read the table (see Words screen reader)

Tip! To view or set table types for all tables in the document select Ctrl + A then Set table.

Navigation group box


Insert Table of Contents.

Vision Australia Tip! The table of contents is built using true headings applied to the document. Ensure the document heading hierarchy is correct.


Table of Figures Dialog

Insert a Table of Figures into the document. Add a list of captioned options and their page numbers for quick reference.


Add a Hyperlink

Create a link in your document for quick access to webpages and files.

Hyperlinks can also take you to places in your document, such as headings and bookmarks.


Edit the header of the document.

Headers help you repeat content at the top of every page. They’re useful for showcasing information, like title, author, and page number.


Edit the footer of the document.

Footers help you repeat content at the bottom of every page. They’re useful for showcasing information, like title, author, and page number.

Page number

Insert page numbers into the document.

You can choose from a variety of pre-defined looks or select your own format.

References group box


Insert footnote.

Add a note at the bottom of the page providing more info about something in your document.

Footnotes are automatically renumbered as you move text around the document.


Insert Endnote

Add a note, like a comment or citation, providing more info about something in your document. Endnotes are placed at the end of the document.

Superscript numbers referring to endnotes are added to your text.


Label your picture or object.

A caption is a line of text that appears below an object to describe it. For example, “Figure 7: Common Weather Patterns.”

Once you’ve added a caption, you can reference your object anywhere in your document by inserting a cross-reference.

Design group box


Change the spacing between lines of text.

You can also customise the amount of space added before and after paragraphs.

Align Text Left

Align your content with the left margin.

Left alignment is commonly used for body text and makes the document easier to read.

Align Text Right

Align content with the right margin.

Right alignment is used for small sections of content, such as text in a header or footer.

Decrease Indent

Move your paragraph closer to the margin.

Increase Indent

Move you paragraph farther away from the margin.


Add or remove borders from your selection.


Pick a new font for your text.

Vision Australia Tip! Pick sans-serif fonts as these font types help users see the shapes of letters more clearly.

Font Size

Change the size of your text.

Vision Australia Tip! At minimum implement 12 point for body text and 9pt for headers, footers, footnotes or endnotes.

Charts group box


Insert Chart to illustrate and compare data.

Make it easy to spot patterns and trends in your data by inserting a bar area or line chart.


Show the format shape dialog box.

Make fine tune adjustments to the look of your shape using the Format Shape take pane.


Paste as picture.

Vision Australia Tip! JAWS screen reader will not announce the data within an Excel graph or chart in a meaningful sequence. Graphs and charts must be displayed as images. Ensure to add the appropriate alt text.

Forms group box

Edit Box

Text Form Field

Check Box

Check Box Form Field

Combo Box

Dropdown Form Field


Reset form fields

Vision Australia Tip! The form controls and function listed above are “Legacy” controls. These controls are accessible to users of screen readers.

Control Properties

View or modify properties for the selected control.

Restrict Editing

Limit how much others can edit or format the document.

For example, you can prevent formatting changes, force all changes to be tracked, or allow only commenting.

Inspect group box

Check Accessibility

Check the document for content that people with disabilities might find difficult to read.

* Find insufficient colour contrast

Identify text with insufficient contrast against its background colour.

Good contrast between foreground and background colours is important for users who have low vision or colour blindness.

Warning! This feature does not check the text/background colour combinations of images of text.

* Doc Inspect

Maintain the document title (assigned in properties) and remove hidden properties and personal information.

Tip! The document title assigned in properties will be exported to PDF.

The document title is the first element a screen reader announces when it opens a PDF document.

* Save as HTML

Create an HTML version of the document. The webpage will be saved in the same folder as the Word document.

HTML is the most accessible digital format. This is because if its coded to WCAG 2.0 standards it is more accessible on more devices.

Warning! The functionality only captures basic HTML mark up. For example, headings, lists, tables, images and paragraphs.

The Set Type command in the Tables group determines how table HTML is coded.

If the table type is set to one of the first 3 types, then <th> elements will be added according to type. If the table is complex (contains merged cells) then 'headers' attributes will also be added. For complex data tables the HTML is the same for all 3 data table types.

If the table type is "Not a data table", there will be no <th> elements in the table and instead the attribute role="presentation" will be added.

Note that complex table markup should be checked for accuracy. This can be done in the HTML using the Complex Data Table Markup Toolbar.

For Save as HTML function:

The value of the 'lang' attribute in the opening <html> tag is determined by the spelling language setting for the first character in the document.

You can change this by selecting the first paragraph in the document (or selecting the first character), opening the Review tab in the ribbon and click Language - Set Proofing Language, then select the language from the drop-down.

The Word to HTML function does not support changes in language yet.

* Copy HTML

Show HTML version of content selected and copy to clipboard.

* WORDS screen reader

Simulate the experience of people who use screen reader technologies to access digital document content.

Tip! Use WORDS in conjunction with Check Accessibility to test the Word document for accessibility.

Keyboard commands for DAT

For general access to ribbon commands, press the Alt key, this will display shortcut keys for each tab on the ribbon. The shortcut key for DAT is usually “CC”, although Word might sometimes change this. Opening the DAT tab displays shortcut keys for each command, alternatively, press the Tab key to move through commands.

The F6 key can be used to navigate between different panels of Word e.g. it can be used to cycle between document, navigation pane and the ribbon. When the ribbon has focus the shortcut keys are displayed.

Most of the dialog boxes in DAT are modal. This means that when they are open you can’t access any other part of that Word document. However, two dialog boxes: “Find insufficient Colour Contrast” and “Colour Contrast Determinator” are non-modal and you can move between these dialog boxes and the document by pressing Alt + F6 .

Dialog boxes can be closed by pressing Escape (or Alt + F4).

Dialog boxes can be moved by pressing the Arrow keys when focus is on a button.

For the "Set alt-text" dialog box, pressing Alt + A in the textbox activates the "Apply" button.