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Office Apps December Features Rollout Make Docs More Accessible

Microsoft is enhancing accessibility features in Office 365, today rolls out a number of improvements that adress both the creation and consumption phases when working with documents. Perhaps the most noteworthy is the Accessibility Checker, is now easily discoverable in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Visio, helping you ensure your content can be consumed without barriers by people with varying levels of vision, hearing, cognition and mobility disabilities.

By clicking Check Accessibility under the Review tab, Accessibility Checker starts analyzing material and provides recommendations alongside the document, helping you understand how to fix errors and create more accessible content over time, writes Kirk Koenigsbauer.

Microsoft also notes that soon the ability to automatic suggestions for alternative text descriptions (alt-text) for images in both PowerPoint and Word will be available, so people with visual impairments can easily understand media-rich presentations and documents.

Intelligent alternate text for images is powered by Microsoft’s Computer Vision Cognitive Service. Microsoft said, through machine learning and as more people uses it, this capability will become smarter and over time it’ll add to more apps and platforms.

Now, by enabling a MailTip in Outlook on the web, you can alert coworkers, reminding them to run Accessibility Checker before sending contents. The prompt will appear while they compose email to you.

The MailTip requesting accessible content is currently available for commercial Office 365 customers in Outlook on the web. And will soon available to commercial Office 365 in Outlook on Windows desktops.

To get started, visit Accessibility preferences from the General tab of Outlook on the web settings.

Finally, Recent Items list for hyperlinks in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on Windows desktops is coming in next few months for Office 365 subscribers.

This capability will help you easily attach hyperlinks with meaningful display names for recent cloud-based files or websites. This capability will show recently used files on “SharePoint, OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and webpages” that’s already copied to clipboard, and help you easily attach hyperlinks with meaningful & editable display names.

This capability will also coming to Office Mobile apps on Windows and Android in the next few months.

Lastly, this month, Microsoft also released new cloud storage options for Office on Android, as well as Visio to the web and iOS.

See the screenshots attached under this post for more details:

Office 365: automatic alt-text suggestions

Recent Items list for hyperlinks in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on Windows desktops

Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Visio on Windows desktops

MailTip in Outlook on the web

In a post on Office, the company shared five ways cloud-based email helps save organization time for both IT department and users.

Among them: Moving email to the cloud means no more attention is wasted on onsite servers. And, migration and continuous software updates can help decrease (or even eliminate) maintenance-related downtime.

Also, effective cloud-based secure email solutions help organizations comply with global, regional and industry-specific requirements like healthcare (HIPAA), government and homeland security (FISMA), education (FERPA) and banking.

Additionally, the company is also sharing a free eBook “Elevate your email”, you can over here.

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