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Michigan State University

Creating Accessible Memos and Signed Documents in Word 2007

The best way to create an accessible signed document or memo is to insert the signature directly into Microsoft Word and then save the document as a PDF file (see instructions below). A common method on campus, scanning a printed and signed document to a PDF file, will not produce an accessible file and is not recommended. Instead, follow the instructions below.

Creating the Signature Image

To start, you must create a digital image of the signature. Have the person sign their name on a clean piece of white paper and then scan the signature, saving it as a .jpg, .tiff, .bmp, or other graphic file type. Do not save it as a PDF. You can crop the image at this point in the program you used to create it to remove the excess white space. You could also crop the signature image file within Word once you insert the file into Word.

Inserting the Image into Your Document

Open in Microsoft Word the memo or document in which you want to insert the signature. To insert the digital image of the signature in the document, place the cursor where you want the signature to appear. Click "Insert" on the menu bar, and then click "Picture." Navigate to the location on your computer where you saved the image. Select the image name, and then click "Insert." If the image is too large and runs off the page, click and drag the bottom right corner of the image to resize until it fits correctly.

Cropping an Image to Remove Excess White Space

If you didn't crop the image in an image editing program (like Photoshop) when you first created it, you can crop the image to remove excess white space right in Word. Click on the image, and then click "Format" on the menu bar. Click "Crop" and then click and drag each corner until the excess white space is removed image. Hit "Enter" or click "Crop" again.

Cropping an image

Adding Alternative Text (Alt Text) to an Image

To add Alt Text, right-click on the image and select "Size" from the flyout menu from your cursor. Click on the Alt Text tab in the window. In the box marked "Alternative Text," type "Signature of [signatory's name]" and then click "Close."

    Inserting Alternate Text in an image

Saving the Document as a PDF

After you have inserted the signature image, removed any excess white space, and added the Alt Text, save your document in Word. Next, to save the document as a PDF, click on the multi-colored Office button at the top left of your screen. Click on the right-pointing arrow at the "Save As" option and then click the "PDF or XPS" option. The "Publish as PDF or XPS" window comes up. Navigate to the folder where you want to save your document, type in the file name in the "File Name" box, and then click "Publish."

Save As PDFp>