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Berman Accessibility Ribbon for Word


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What is the Berman Accessibility Ribbon?

The Berman Accessibility Ribbon (version 1.0) is an add-on to Microsoft Word for Windows (versions 2010, 2013, and 2016). It is available in various languages. (Unfortunately Word for Mac still lacks the accessibility features of Word for Windows, so the ribbon only works for Word for Windows).

Got Word for Windows 2003 or 2007? Get Cliff Tyllick’s excellent toolbars and tabs for earlier versions of Word at http://cliffknows.net/word/ .

Install the Berman Accessibility Ribbon into your Microsoft Word to make it easier to create and maintain accessible Word files. The ribbon will help you create documents that are accessible for everyone and that comply with W3C’s WCAG 2.0: these are the criteria designated by regulations such as AODA and Section 508.

The ribbon is donationware… free for personal use. For organizations or corporations, we almost insist (please!) that you make a donation to Carleton University’s READ Initiative.

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The ribbon is available in these languages: English, French (Canada). If you’d like to help us add more languages, email us at ribbon@davidberman.com .

How to install the ribbon on your Windows computer

  1. Get the ribbon by completing the Berman Accessibility Ribbon Registration form … it will email you a link to the davidbermancom-Accessibility-Ribbon-for-Word.exportedUI file you’ll need, which you’ll then download to a folder of your choice on your computer.
  2. Launch Microsoft Word for Windows 2010, 2013, or 2016, and follow these steps:
    1. select File menu (in Microsoft Word)
    2. select Options command (this will open a Word Options dialog)
    3. select Customize Ribbon in the sidebar of the Word Options dialog (this will display the Customize Ribbon options)
    4. pulldown the Import/Export dropdown button menu (it’s in the lower corner of the dialog)
    5. select Import Customization File from the dropdown menu (this will open a “File Open” dialog)
    6. select the Berman Accessibility ribbon install file from the folder you downloaded it to in the very first step above, then select the Open button
    7. respond “Yes” to the warning dialog that appears asking “Replace all existing Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar customizations for this program?” (Note: if you have created other custom ribbons, they will be deleted!)
    8. now, back on the Word Options window, confirm that the checkbox next to “Accessibility (Custom)” in the Main Tabs section of the Customize The Ribbon column is checked (if not checked, the Berman Accessibility Ribbon will not appear in Word)
    9. if “Accessibility (Custom)” is not already at the top of the Main Tabs list, then repeatedly select the Move Up arrow button until “Accessibility (Custom)” is at the top of the list. (This will ensure that the Accessibility ribbon tab will be the next-to-first tab in Word’s interface… if you’d like it elsewhere, you can position it elsewhere.)

Congratulations! You have finished installing the Accessibility Ribbon.

The top of your Word screen should now look something like this (this screen capture is from Word 2013):

Screen capture of Berman Accessibility Ribbon in Microsoft Word for Windows 2016

The “Accessibility” tab now appears between the File and Home tabs. The ribbon has sections for:

  • Document
  • Page
  • Structure
  • Styles
  • Content
  • Links
  • Lists
  • Images
  • Forms
  • Acrobat (if you installed Acrobat)

(Your layout may differ slightly.)

How to inactivate the ribbon (should you ever wish to)

  1. Launch Microsoft Word 2010 or 2013 or 2016, and follow these steps within Word:
    1. select File menu
    2. select Options command (this will open a Word Options dialog)
    3. select Customize Ribbon in the sidebar of the Word Options dialog (this will display the Customize The Ribbon options)
    4. uncheck the box next to “Accessibility (Custom)” in the Main Tabs section of the Customize The Ribbon column
  2. If you also wish to permanently remove access to the ribbon, select the << Remove button. (This will remove the ribbon from even being mentioned on the Customize The Ribbon option.)

How to remove the installer from your computer

  1. Follow the instructions above “How to inactivate the ribbon.
  2. Go to the folder you saved the “davidbermancom-Accessibility-Ribbon-for-Word.exportedUI” to, and delete that file.

About the ribbon

This accessibility ribbon was developed by David Berman Communications. Thank you to the City of Guelph for the inspiration.

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Reviewed January 28, 2016

5 Responses to “Berman Accessibility Ribbon for Word”

  1. David Berman says:

    Check out our latest tweaks to the ribbon!

  2. glen says:

    Is there a description of what the ribbon does for you? I see the screenshot but how does your “insert table” differ from the “insert table” on the main ribbon? How is “apply heading 1” different from using the shortcut key Ctrl+Alt+1? Etc.

    • David Berman says:

      Thank you Glen for seeking this clarity. The ribbon does not add any new commands to Word. Rather it simply brings together all of the Word commands that one typically uses when creating an accessible document. We include all of the commands we tend to reference in our courses and learning guides on creating accessible Word files (as well as creating accessible PDF files that originate from Word files!).

  3. Stef says:

    Hi! Do you have this logo for Micrsoft Word Mac?


    • David Berman says:

      Hi. Unfortunately, no version of Microsoft Word for Mac includes the accessibility features that Word for Windows has included since Word 2010 for Windows. We’re hoping that Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac (currently in alpha testing) will have those features, but our preliminary testing sadly indicates not. And, so… the ribbon only works for Windows, at least for now.

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