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Microsoft's Top 5 Accessibiliy Tips

Minnie and Jake working together at a desk

The latest version of Microsoft's Office 365 - tools such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook - has a whole bunch of new accessibility features designed to make all our lives as easy as possible!

We've put together a list of the top five need-to-know tips for everyone to make use of.

1. Ease of access

This is a special section within the Settings function that is all about accessibility. This is where you adjust the icon and mouse sizes, activate the in-build screenreader 'Narrator', and change the colour filter – just a few examples. To find this, you can go to Windows Icon à Settings à Ease of Access. Or on your keyboard, press Windows Logo Key + U.

2. Accessibility checker

The Office 365 Accessibility Checker is the spell check of accessibility. Running your document through the checker is a great habit to get into, alongside your final proofread. The accessibility checker runs through your document and picks up parts of document that are not accessible for readers. For example, images without alt text, or empty table cells that mislead a person with a visual impairment.

3. Eye control

The eye control allows users to control their device using only the movement of their eyes. To activate this feature, you will need to be using the 'beta' version and an eye tracking device. With eye control, you can control the cursor, use the on-screen keyboard, and even have your words read aloud back to you.

4. Dictation on the desktop

Dictation is Microsoft's built-in voice recognition feature. Once activated, you train it up so that it is familiar with your voice and style of talking. The tool allows you to open applications and programmes, and 'type' documents using speech-to-text.

5. Display

The Display function allows you to change the size of the icons on your screen and zoom in on the applications in use. You can also change the screen light to 'night mode', which is useful for everyone who is using their device in the dark or for long periods of time.