What Is AccessODF?

AccessODF is an accessibility checker for Writer, the word processing application in LibreOffice and Apache It can be installed as an extension and adds an "Accessibility Evaluation" function in Writer's Tools menu. The user guide in the wiki explains how to get started using AccessODF.

What Do I Need to Use AccessODF?

You need LibreOffice or 3.3 or higher. You also need to have Java installed. If you are not certain whether you have Java installed, go to the page where you can verify your Java version. You can also check this in Writer by going to Tools, then Options, then Java.

What Is Accessibility?

Accessibility here refers to the accessibility (of documents) for people with disabilities. These disabilities include blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations and limited movement. For more information about accessibility, you can read the Introduction to Accessibility by the Irish Centre for Excellence in Universal Design.

How Can I Help Improve AccessODF?

Submit Bug Reports or Feature Requests

When you notice strange behaviour, errors or even crashes, you can submit a ticket. When you submit a ticket, please mention

In other words, we need all the information that helps us reproduce the bug on our computers, so we can properly analyse it. You can also submit a ticket when you want to make a feature request.

Help Translate AccessODF

AccessODF contains error descriptions and repair suggestions for many types of issues, so translation is a relatively big task in this project. If you are a native speaker of a language in which AccessODF is not available, you would do us and other speakers of your language a big favour by translating part of AccessODF (or even all of it!). If you would like to contribute to translations, please get in touch with us, for example by sending an e-mail to c_strobbe-accessodf (at) (The translations are contained in three spreadsheets in the localisation folder in the source code repository: l10n-checks.ods, l10n-odt2braille.ods and l10n-toolpanel.ods.)

Why Is AccessODF Not Built into Writer?

The extension mechanism in LibreOffice and makes it easy to add functionality to these office suites without the need to understand the source code (mainly C++) and even without knowing C++. Extensions for LibreOffice and can also be developed in Java, and this is easier and faster than in C++. AccessODF was developed within the wider framework of the AEGIS project, a research and development project funded by the European Commission. This project has a different (internal) release cycle that is not and could not be synchronised with the release cycles of LibreOffice or These are the reasons why AccessODF is available only as a Java-based extension.

After the public release of the extension, the next step would be the integration of AccessODF into the core of LibreOffice and Integration into LibreOffice would require a rewrite of the code in C++. This would require help from volunteers who are familiar with both Java and C++. It is not yet clear what would need to be done to integrate AccessODF into, except from a change of licence from the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) to the Apache License.

Who Developed AccessODF?

AccessODF was developed at KU Leuven in Belgium, within the wider framework of the AEGIS project. This research and development project was funded by the European Commission and ran from September 2008 till August 2012.

The main technical goal of the AEGIS project was to embed more accessibility into mainstream software. This is also why almost all software developed by the project is available under an open-source licence. Each piece of software that AEGIS created or contributed to, also fits into the Open Accessibility Framework (OAF). The OAF describes the creation and delivery of accessible applications and content as a series of 6 steps:

  1. Step 1 is about what it means for an application or content to be accessible. This includes features and characteristics such as keyboard accessibility, support for themes (e.g. high contrast), accessibility APIs, the avoidance of flashing content, etcetera.
  2. Step two refers to the user interface components used to build applications. In the context of document creation, this step can refer to document templates: accessible templates for LibreOffice and
  3. Step three refers to tools that developers and authors use to create applications or content. In the context of document creation, this step refers to the support that LibreOffice and provide to authors so they can create accessible documents. Since no support is built into these office suites, AccessODF fills a gap here.
  4. Step four refers to accessibility support in the "platform". On desktops, this means to the implementation of "accessible" (as defined in step 1) by desktop operating systems.
  5. Step five refers to the accessibility of the applications and documents themselves. Even when an author uses accessible templates and an accessibility checker, it is still necessary to take care of some things, for example, making sure that text alternatives for images are actually meaningful alternatives, keeping tables simple (AccessODF can not simplify tables), etcetera. See the guidance collected by the "Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project.
  6. Step 6 refers to assistive technology. Assistive technology needs to be available on the user's platform and needs to implement the accessibility API from step 1.