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Legacy Library

Electronic Thesis Submission: Formatting Guidelines

Minimum Standards for Submission

Formatting Guidelines

I. Program-Specific Formatting Guidelines

In accordance with Marietta College's’s efforts to make educational content available to everyone, we ask that you do your best to make your paper accessible. Accessible documents mean that they will be usable by screen readers and other assistive technologies and will widen the scope of who can access your paper. We hope to introduce you to creating more accessible professional writing as you progress in your career.

It is always best, if possible, to start with an accessible source document (e.g., in Microsoft Word) and export it to an accessible PDF. This way, if the document is edited later, the document’s accessibility features will still be intact. When the document is exported again to PDF, the accessibility features will again be passed to the PDF. All PDFs submitted need to meet the following Minimum Requirements for Digitally Accessible PDFs:

  • The PDF file includes full text.
  • PDF accessibility permission flag is checked
  • The Text language of the PDF is specified
  • Figures and images include alternative text
  • PDF includes a title and use of at least one heading level in the text of the documents
  • The submission includes the digital accessibility report. Digital Accessibility Reports must be uploaded as separate documents (instead of attached to the PDF) to be tracked.

When creating content, a few basic steps should be followed to ensure your content is accessible. The core steps needed for accessibility are the same regardless of whether your document is in Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or another document format:

II. Creating an Accessible PDF Copy

    Each thesis or paper needs to be in the form of a single PDF file before it can be submitted to OhioLINK ETD Center.

  • Microsoft Word can be used to create and check accessible documents. Marietta College provides Office 365 for Students if they need to download a newer version of it. You can also check your paper for accessibility in word. Please do your best to address any errors or warnings that come up.
  • Using Heading Styles – Heading styles make a big difference in helping your document meet accessibility standards. Headings organize a document so people can find the content they need or understand how it is laid out.
  • Adding Alt Text to Images – Adding alt text to images and figures helps screen readers relay the objects in a document. See the Social Security Administration Alternative Text Guide and WebAIM: Alternative Text for more information.
  • Embed Fonts -When fonts are embedded, readers of your work can see your document as you intended, using the same fonts you used.
  • Document Properties – Editing document properties creates additional data about the details of a file. This helps with the organization and identification of files based on their properties. It is also necessary to set the document properties to ensure it is accessible. Setting properties such as Author, Title, and Language helps identify a document.
  • Saving the PDF with Bookmarks – Heading styles are retained when converting to a PDF and creating bookmarks, which all can use to navigate the document in a clean and concise manner. Having a descriptive file name can give information about the document.

    Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Accessible
    How to create PDF files

  • Converting to accessible PDF
    • In Word, click File, then Save As.
    • Choose where you want the file to be saved.
    • Select PDF as the Save As type, then select Options.
    • Check the box for Document structure tags for accessibility.
    • Check the box near the bottom for ISO 19005-1 (PDF/A) compliance.
    • Click OK.
  • Check accessibility of PDFs:  if the original source document is unavailable, accessibility features can be added to the PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

    File Names – Consideration should be given to the file name of the PDF version of your paper or project. An appropriate naming scheme for your PDF file should include your last name, or a combination of last name, first name and middle initial, date/year, and should not contain any spaces, special characters: ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ‘ “. Use capitals and underscores instead of periods or spaces, or slashes. Example file names include smithja_final_etd.pdf and smithja_final_etd2021.pdf.

Digital Accessibility Resources for the OhioLINK ETD Center for administrators and reviewers.

This content on this page is borrowed from Otterbein University, Courtright Memorial Library.