Accessibility Tip of the Week: Copying and pasting accessible content

A person typng on a laptop

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about copying and pasting accessible content into web tools such as SchoolMessenger and Schoology. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Rather than typing directly into our web tools, many of us create web content using Microsoft Word or Google Docs. This workflow simplifies editing the content, but some formatting can be lost when migrating the content to the web. This is a particular concern in regards to accessibility. Will the accessibility work performed within Microsoft Word or Google Docs carry over to SchoolMessenger or Schoology?

Thankfully, much of the formatting is preserved. The Communications Department has performed some tests to see which elements are preserved across each system. We tested for four elements:

  • Heading styles: Will the heading styles applied in Microsoft Word or Google Docs carry over with the text?
  • Lists: Will correct list formatting carry over when copying and pasting?
  • Images and their alternative text: Will images carry over when copied and pasted as part of a document? Will the alternative text that’s been applied within the document also carry over?
  • Tables and table headings: Will true tables be preserved? Will the table row and column header styles also carry over?

Here are the results:

Pasting into Schoology

From Microsoft Word

  • Heading styles carried over.
  • List styles were broken.
  • Images don’t carry over, meaning the image alt tag also doesn’t.
  • Table carries over, but row and column heading styles are lost.

From Google Docs

  • Heading styles carried over.
  • List styles carried over.
  • Image alt tag carried over.
  • Table carries over, but like Word, table headings are lost.

Pasting into SchoolMessenger (teacher pages)

From Microsoft Word

Note: When pasting into SchoolMessenger from Microsoft Word, the user is presented with the option to clean the formatting. In these tests, the formatting was cleaned.

  • Heading styles carried over.
  • List styles carried over without formatting issues.
  • Image doesn’t carry over, but the alt tag does. A broken image icon with the correct alt tag is displayed.
  • Table carries over, but row and column heading styles are lost.

From Google Docs

  • Heading styles carried over.
  • List tagging carried over, but formatting is messy (large spacing).
  • Image carries over with alt tag.
  • Table carried over, but row and column heading styles are lost.

While these tests provide a foundational understanding of what formatting is preserved, content creators should verify these results are consistent on their own systems. The Website Accessibility Resources page has tips on applying accessible formatting across a range of software services, including Schoology and SchoolMessenger.

As always, if you have questions or tips regarding accessibility, please reach out to Robert Hardy  at extension 6105.