Accessibility guide for Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft 365 provides apps and cloud services designed to help everyone create, communicate, and collaborate from any device. For example, by using the Office apps (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) that are included with Microsoft 365 Apps.

As an admin responsible for deploying and managing the Office apps in your organization, you have a key role to play in helping make your Microsoft 365 environment as inclusive and accessible as possible for all your users.

The following information is intended to provide you with guidance and resources to help your organization create a more inclusive and accessible environment for your users.

Recommendations for promoting accessibility with Office

To allow your users to take the most advantage of the accessibility capabilities of the Office apps that come with Microsoft 365 Apps, we recommend you take the following actions.

Provide your users with the latest accessibility features for Office by using Current Channel

Microsoft 365 Apps is updated regularly with new and improved features for the Office apps, such as Word and Excel. These updates can include new and improved accessibility features.

To provide your users with the newest and most up-to-date accessibility features, we recommend using Current Channel. Current Channel is updated every month with new and improved features, along with the latest security updates and bug fixes.

With Current Channel, you’ll be getting the accessibility features as soon as they’re ready. To see the features that are released each month, see Release notes for Current Channel.


Check that connected experiences for accessibility are turned on for your users

Microsoft 365 Apps provides connected experiences, which use cloud-based functionality to provide enhanced capabilities when using Office apps. This includes capabilities that improve accessibility to create and consume Office content.

Here are some examples of connected experiences for accessibility.

  • Live captions and subtitles (PowerPoint), which can help accommodate users who may be deaf or hard of hearing, or more familiar with another language.

  • Dictation (Word or Outlook), which converts speech to text to allow users to author content without using a keyboard.

  • Read Aloud (Word), which reads all or part of a document out loud to assist users who are blind or have low vision.

  • Learning Tools (multiple apps), such as Immersive Reader options in Outlook, which can assist users with dyslexia or learning disabilities by allowing them to customize how email text appears on the screen.

  • Automatic alt text (multiple apps), which can generate descriptions of images, pictures, and diagrams to assist users with visual impairments that are using screen readers.

  • PowerPoint QuickStarter, which can help users with learning disabilities or certain kinds of neurodivergence by providing an initial structure for a project.

We recommend that you check that connected experiences are turned on in your organization. Connected experiences are turned on by default, but we provide admins with policies that allow them to turn off connected experiences.

If connected experiences are turned off by using policies, then connected experiences for accessibility won’t be available to your users. For more information about those policies, see Overview of privacy controls for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.

Increase the use of the Accessibility Checker by having it run automatically for your users

The Accessibility Checker identifies possible accessibility issues in Office content and offers recommendations for fixing the issues. Therefore, we recommend that your users run the Accessibility Checker before sending an email message or sharing a document, presentation, or spreadsheet.

To make running the Accessibility Checker easier for your users, you can configure it to run automatically for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on devices running Windows. To configure, use Group Policy or Cloud Policy to enable the “Check for accessibility issues while editing” policy. There's a separate policy for each of the three apps.

There isn’t a policy for Outlook, but Outlook automatically checks for accessibility issues under certain conditions, as listed under File > Options > Accessibility. For example, when you’re composing a message to a large audience or when a recipient has indicated they prefer accessible content.


  • The policy is found under User Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Microsoft {app name} 2016\File Tab\Check Accessibility in the Group Policy Management Console.
  • If you use this policy, users won’t be able to turn off the Accessibility Checker under File > Options > Accessibility.

Make accessibility resources available to your organization

There are many resources available that you can provide to your users to make them aware of the accessibility capabilities of Office, Windows, and other Microsoft products that you use in your organization.

People supporting users in the organization should also be aware of these accessibility resources. For example, support desk personnel, training staff, adoption teams, and human resources.

Accessibility tools for Office and Windows users

The following links provide information about accessibility tools available for Office and Windows, organized by area of focus.

Product specific accessibility resources

The following links provide information about accessibility options available in Microsoft products that might be used in your organization. You can also go to the Accessibility help & learning page and do a search for what you're looking for.

Other accessibility resources

The following list provides other accessibility resources that you might find helpful.