moderated Re: Accessible forms in Word


As it turns out, my memory is faulty so I "kinda lied."   I had put together a brief tutorial on working with MS-Word forms for a former client and I do have the two forms that I send out as examples as well.

The one form is very short.  It is what one of the local school districts refers to as a bus note that is used to create a permission slip for a student to take a bus he or she would not typically take for special events and the like.  It has a number of fillable text fields as well as checkboxes, many of which would be used as a pair of a checkbox followed by filling in the reason after that "basic reason" checkbox is checked.  There is one field that is a date field, and that automatically fills in with today's date for whatever that is when you activate the template to create an instance of the actual form for filling out.  This could, of course, be changed to manual entry.

The second form is a 2-page abbreviated and anonymized version of a client intake form for a massage school.  The only section of this form that I did not complete is where there are checkboxes for medical conditions the person getting the massage should make the masseuse aware of beforehand.  I only did the first two, for arthritis and for allergies, and there would be thirty more, and three of those would have associated text boxes for explanations if they were to be checked.  I think that anyone who's ever filled out a medical history form gets the idea.  The first text box has a default "introducing myself and this form" text, which can be edited either in the form template itself or an actual instance of the form once that's created in case someone wanted to have a different sort of introduction during an initial session.

Both of these forms are in MS-Word document template (.dotx) file format and editing restriction for filling out forms is currently on, so if you select the file and activate it to make Word open it, you will end up with an instance of the fillable form.

Every checkbox and text field has both Status Bar and Help Key (F1) text associated with it, and they are usually the same text.  As you tab through the form your screen reader should announce each field so you know what you're checking/unchecking or what you're supposed to be filling in on the text box.  I always include the help key text because we all know that you could be tooling along, filling out a form, and get interrupted, then have no idea of exactly what you were sitting in when you were interrupted.  Hitting F1 will make the screen reader announce again what field you're in.

Please read through the Microsoft Word document entitled Working with Forms in Microsoft Word BEFORE you begin even trying to play around with the form templates.  I have just updated it to include ALT TEXT for the screen shots I included as well as some keyboard shortcut information for the pertinent bits of the Developer Tab of the ribbon, which is what you will use for editing restrictions.  This is a "quick and dirty" beginning guide, not a comprehensive treatise on the matter.

The two forms and the guide can be downloaded via the following link:  Creating Accessible MS-Word
Just unzip it and you'll get a folder by the same name with the three items mentioned in it.


Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 1909, Build 18363  

Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them.

        ~ Joshua Liebman

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