How to Make Your Word 2010 Documents 508 Compliant
July 2, 2014
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
boxes are often problematic, causing assistive technology to read the text boxes and
surrounding content in an incorrect reading order. Fixing this problem in PDF is extremely
difficult. If you have Adobe Acrobat Professional, it requires going into the PDF file’s tag tree
(i.e., the PDF’s embedded markup language structure) and manually moving text boxes and
surrounding content into the correct reading order. This process is extremely risky and tedious.
There is no “undo” feature in Adobe Acrobat Professional if you accidentally damage the PDF
file’s tag tree. You must “save” the PDF file each time you successfully move an item in the tag
tree, so that if you do make a mistake, you can go back to the last file you saved and try again.
Therefore, as a general rule, avoid using text boxes altogether.
o If you must use text boxes, use them sparingly and only in small-sized documents (1 to 9
o If you must use text boxes in a large document (10 pages or more), break the document
into small-sized documents (e.g., chapters or sections). Then after you convert each
document into a PDF file and make each PDF file 508-compliant, combine them into one
large PDF file.
Instead of using text boxes, a better option is to type text as a separate paragraph and use Word’s
“Borders and Shading” feature to create a border around the paragraph.
1) For example, suppose we want to type the following message so that it stands out from the
surrounding text: “Warning! Whenever you change a style using the Modify Styles dialog box,
make sure that the radio button ‘Only in this document’ (in the lower left-hand corner) is kept in
the ‘on’ position. Otherwise, any style changes that you make to this document will permanently
change the default styles for documents that you create in the future.”
2) Type the entire message as a separate paragraph.
3) Select and highlight the entire paragraph.
4) Select the “Home” tab on your Word toolbar, then click on the “Border” drop-down arrow in the
Figure 67. Home tab, Border drop-down menu
5) Select “Borders and Shading” from the drop-down menu.