moderated Re: Tutorials on Creating Accessible MS-Word Fillable Forms Plus Examples of Those Forms


On Wed, Nov 25, 2020 at 01:58 PM, Cynthia Bruce wrote:
Honestly, my university has been struggling with this – they seem to be stumped. Go figure.
It really does astound me how little fillable forms (whether done with accessibility in mind, or not) under MS-Word have never really caught on.  When you couple that with people who think that an MS-Word document that prints perfectly as a standard blank paper form is accessible, it's even worse.

I've been using fillable forms for a very long time now.  When I hand someone the electronic equivalent of a paper form, the only things I want them to be able to touch are the parts that you'd actually fill out were you using pen on a paper form.  No accidental removal of labels, checkboxes, etc., and fillable forms have "filled that bill" perfectly.

I believe that anyone with more than a cursory familiarity with MS-Word will be able to follow that tutorial, particularly since screen shots of each and every critical, and some not so critical, steps are shown so that a sense of, "Oh, I'm seeing that, I must be doing it right," will develop quickly.

The trickiest part, really, is getting the sighted to understand that they absolutely, positively must take the time to add the Help Text for each and every form control, be it a text box, checkbox, or dropdown, that a user can touch if they want the form to be accessible.  That text is what the screen reader reads upon encountering a form control, and it never has any access to the protected elements in a fillable form, just like the end user doesn't have access to those when filling it out.

The one thing that's even less known is that the capability exists, after the form is completed, to convert its contents to plain old text.  There are occasions where you want to control entry of form information, but where being able to see the form in its entirety afterward is desirable.  Sometimes it doesn't matter, and others it does.

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

           ~ André Gide

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