Skip to Main Content

Responsible Thesis-Writing Process

The University of Vaasa's guidelines for research ethics and research data management.

Accessibility in brief

Accessibility means equality of access to information. A source of information, whether a text document or an online service, should be equally easily accessed by all.

The University’s publications in Osuva must be accessible. It is the responsibility of the author to ensure accessibility by

  • following the writing instructions,
  • familiarizing themselves with accessibility and ease of use tools,
  • using the styles in Word or other word processors,
  • adding alternate texts (so-called alt texts) to all images and patterns,
  • avoiding adding a table as an image,
  • avoiding providing information only through colour, and
  • creating new styles for intermediate headings if necessary, because bold or italic is not enough.

Word styles

Screenshot of Word Quick Style menu.

Template has ready-made styles in the Quick Style menu, such as Body and different heading levels.

Figures, images and colours

Add an alternative text to patterns and images, i.e., alt text. The alternative text tells the reader the essential content of the image. It is not the same as the caption, and the information in the text does not need to be repeated but can be referenced.

Screenshot of Word Alt Text -view.


Colors can be used, but they must not be the only way to convey information.

  • Tip! Try the grayscale print preview. Can you still see the information in the image?

In the photo below, colors with sufficient contrast on a white background are circled from the default colors of Word.

Please note that you will have to check the contrast if, for example, in the table or figure, other colors have been used.

Black, the two darker blue, and the lowest, darkest line on the tone chart (excluding the light grey on the left edge) in the default Office theme are safe bet for a white background. The darker red, purple of the standard colors, as well as the two darker blue ones are also good. There are a few other shades of gray and blue on the map that work.


Use tables only when you need them to present data. Avoid tables with only the purpose of layout.

You can check the reading order of the table by moving from one cell to another with the tabulator. The table header row is the top row, and it must be set on repeat (Repeat Header Row).

Screenshot of the table with repeating the header row.



First, check the accessibility of the file in the word processing program.

Make your documents accessible to users with disabilities. The word processing program does not know which text you have intended as a title and which is plain text if no styles have been used, i.e. those errors are not reported by the checking tool.

From the File - Properties menu, check that the name is the same as the name of the thesis (no subtitle) and that the author is your own name.

Word and LibreOffice

  • Select the Export function.
  • Select Create PDF or XPS Document.
  • Before pressing Publish, select Options.
  • Word: Under Include non-printable information, select the option Document structure tags for accessibility.
  • Word: Create bookmarks using Headings.
  • LibreOffice: Export bookmarks.
  • Select PDF/A compliant (ISO 19005-1 compliant PDF/A).


Other programs

The computers in the university's computer classes have PDF-XChange, which can be used to convert a finished PDF file into PDF/A format.

For paid software for processing PDF files, you can use a free trial, such as Serif Labs Affinity Designer or Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Saavutettavuusseloste Tillgänglighetsutlåtande