ADA Formatting Information


ADA compliance: What is it and why is it important?

When working on your thesis, project, or dissertation, PLEASE NOTE that it must be made accessible. What does "accessible" mean? It means that the file will be accessible to screen readers and other assistive computer technologies. This means MORE people can possibly access and reference your paper online. If you still have any questions PLEASE watch this short  video on ADA issues.  *For assistance, email and let Amy Dyess know what you have tried and where you are stuck. Amy provides ADA formatting assistance Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 5 PM by email, virtual meetings, and in-person.


Accessibility Help Main Page

To check your thesis, project, or dissertation for accessibility it is recommended that you use Word 2010 or Word 2013.  These versions have a built-in accessibility checker.  You can learn about the accessibility checker from the Microsoft accessibility checker page.  Microsoft also has how-to guides for creating accessible Word documents. 

After you have validated that you fixed all issues detected by the Word accessibility check, save your page as a PDF. Go to Adobe Acrobat Pro and check for accessibility. Students may download the Adobe Creative Cloud including Acrobat Pro from the Student Technology Help Desk.  Adobe has created a how-to guide to create and verify PDF accessibility.  That site has tips/recommendations on how to resolve issues.

Steps to Make Your Paper ADA Compliant

Adding “Heading Styles”


Creating “Alt Text” for ALL Images, Figures, and Graphs, etc.


Adding “Table Headers”

Making your Signature Page Accessible: It's easiest to make your Departmental Signature page accessible *before* merging it into your thesis or project. These instructions will walk you through this process in Adobe Acrobat. (Online Students: Your signature page requires an extra step due to the DocuSign protections. You must "Print" your signature page to Adobe PDF and then follow the instructions.) 


How to check your paper for accessibility:

  • Accessibility Links : Microsoft Word (Word) or Adobe Acrobat Pro (PDF) or Adobe Acrobat Pro (website).

If you are using LaTeX for writing your thesis or project, please use the tutorial that Jacek Polewczak from CSU Northridge created. 

Common ADA Errors

Watch these videos for instructions on how to fix common errors. Word 2016 is used for all videos.

Infrequent Headings Video

Repeated Blank Characters Video

Unclear Hyperlink Video

Merged or Split Cells & Check Reading Order Video