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NEW! Creating an Accessible Thesis

In the “Creating an accessible thesis" course you get a short introduction to planning, checking and publishing texts that comply with the principles of accessibility. The course is particularly suitable for students and supervisors, but also to all other members of the University community who produce text documents.

The course is based on self-study. It is open on an ongoing basis, and can be completed at your own pace or e.g. according to a target schedule agreed on in a thesis seminar.

The course consists of six sections that contain instructions and instructional videos as well as thesis templates provided by the University. During the course, you get to test different functions in the UTUGradu process: converting a thesis into a PDF/A file and validation.

After completing the course, you are familiar with the principles and basic concepts of accessible communications, you know how to use the templates of the University of Turku, complete checks and revisions on them with the help of an analysis tool, and publish them as accessible documents.

The “Creating an accessible thesis" course is available on Moodle:


The Web Accessibility Directive of the European Union came into force on 23 September 2020. The Directive obligates the University of Turku to ensure that all the materials (text, photos, files, videos) shared on the University's public website are accessible. Also thesis files have to be accessible. Readiness to produce accessible contents is also an important professional life skill. Accessibility refers to both intelligible contents and technical accessibility.

A thesis is accessible when

  • the author uses clear and intelligible language,
  • it has a clear and logical structure,
  • its layout is easy to read,
  • it meets the requirements of technical accessibility.

You can ensure the accessibility of your file by using the text styles and instructions on University's template. Once the word file is accessible, making an accessible PDF file is easy.

How to draft an accessible document

  1. Use different heading levels in a logical order (heading 1 > heading 2 > heading 3). Do not skip a level.
  2. Use the Word list tools as they clarify the structure and promote accessibility. If the list items do not have a clear order, use an unnumbered list style.
  3. Plan the structure and content of the document. Consider what serves the reader best: text, photo, list, or table.
  4. Do not add text to the file as an image. Avoid using floating text boxes as screen readers do not convert them correctly.
  5. Take care that the document looks clear. Use highlight formatting (cursive, bold, and underline) with careful consideration. Please note that underline is meant for links only.
  6. Remember to ensure the accessibility of tables and images.
  7. Set a language for the document. Language is set by the content language. If the document contains content in a different language, you can set the correct language for these text parts: highlight the text that is in a different language > open the Review tab and click the Language icon > Set Proofing Language > set the language for the text.
  8. Give the document a title. Give the document a title: open Info from the File tab > add the main title of the document as the title. Please note that the document title is not the same as file name.



When your document is ready, check its accessibility: open Info from the File tab > select Check for Issues > select Check Accessibility > fix the parts that are not accessible.

Record of the template modifications:

  • Aug 2022 the names of the thesis supervisors were removed from the cover page.