digitalservices.maidstone.gov.uk

Framework Accessible Online Documents


2 - Heading Structure

Use heading styles properly

Headings give your document a structure, help people navigate it and understand the content hierarchy. This helps all people but is especially important to those using screen readers; they rely on these to understand the hierarchy of the information.

The heading styles in Word are not for decorative effect, they actually apply the structure to the page.

Use the right style at the right time

As with web pages you should use the right heading style at the right time, not the one you think looks the best.

  • There should be one Heading 1 (the title of your document)
  • Any subheadings below that must be Heading 2
  • Any subsections of the Heading 2 headings must be a Heading 3 and so on
  • Make sure that you don’t skip heading levels
image of html heading structures

Heading styles are for grouping and adding a hierarchy to your contentnot for formatting.

Style is important for corporate identity. When we produce our documents we must follow our branding guidelines as explained in the “In our branding style” page.

How to apply heading styles to text

You can apply heading styles by highlighting the relevant text and selecting a heading style from the list on the Home tab of the ribbon.

Of course you will need to style (modify) these heading styles according to our branding style or use one of our templates.

Checking the heading structure

Before you publish or share your document you can check the structure by turning on the Navigation Pane.

Additional Benefit

By applying the correct headings structure, your document not only complies with the accessibility regulations but also becomes very user friendly since all your headings will be exported as bookmarks in your final PDF, which although are not a requirement they will make your documents (especially the lengthy ones) extremely easy to read and navigate.

Simply select “Save as”, then select “PDF (*.pdf)” from the documents type options, click on “Options…” in the new window, and in the Options pop-up select “Create bookmarks using:” and the radio button “Headings” below it.

(click image to enlarge)


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The Digital Service team at Maidstone Borough Council lead on the research, design and development of user centered services for residents in Maidstone

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