One method is to share a Word document as a Word Document. This method is safe because it has no risk of anything being lost while converting. Keep in mind that the recipient must also have Microsoft Word. Also, people who frequently use MS Office will be comfortable using this format, even with screen readers. Still, there are some potential downsides:
Not Everyone Has MS Word
These days, most people can access Word documents in one way or another, but some people still cannot. Whatever the reason, if the person does not have MS Word, they may not be able to open the document at all.
Complex Content in Word Documents
To avoid accessibility issues of complex content, you should covert the document into an HTML, PDF, or EPUB format. Once the document has been converted, the accessibility features for complex content can be applied. It will take longer to convert the document, but it will be much more accessible.
Links to Word Documents on Websites Are Somewhat Intrusive
If the document is on a website, you should provide the document in HTML format for web browsing. You should also give users the option to download it in the original Word format if they want. Otherwise, users are presented with a download dialog box, which interrupts the flow of web browsing.
Save as a Web Page
This option in Word will save your document with a lot of extra HTML code that is not needed. The exception is if you plan on opening the HTML document in Word again at some point. The extra code helps preserve some of the Word formatting. However, it does not produce ideal source code.
The source code isn't bad for accessibility, but you should use the option to "Save as Web Page, Filtered" instead.
When you choose the "Web Page" option from the Save menu, Word gives you a button to add a page title.
If you post the full document , without any changes, you should add the page title here. If you plan on copying and pasting the code into a content management system, do not add a page title.
Save as Web Page, Filtered
The Filtered Option Creates Cleaner Code
The regular "Save as Web Page" option in Word creates too much extra markup. This makes "Save as Web Page, Filtered" preferred for almost everything. Generally this option is sufficient for most things. However, it can still get messy. If you copy the markup into a content management system, you'll need to copy the styles into the style sheet. Plus, you'll probably need to change the location of the images. You may also need to change special characters such as Word-specific dashes, quotation marks, apostrophes, or other special characters.
Use a Third-Party Tool to Clean the HTML
A number of third-party tools exist to clean Word HTML. It is possible to get the markup even cleaner than the "Web Page, Filtered" option allows. Not all of these utilities were created with accessibility in mind, so no endorsement is implied.
HTML Cleaner: This utility is good at preparing HTML from Word for use in content management systems. Note: The interface for HTML Cleaner has accessibility flaws.
Add a Page Title
Similar to the prior section, when saving as a Web Page Filtered, you can add a page title. This feature is not in Word for Mac and Word Online.
Single File Web Page
When you save a document as a "Single File Web Page," the result is just one file with everything inside. Other saving methods can give you an index page plus a folder full of images and style sheets. But this happens only when you choose the "Save as Web Page" or "Save as Web Page, Filtered" options. This is convenient, because it keeps everything together. It also makes it easy to send in an email or to archive a web page. The main drawback is that it only works in Internet Explorer.
The Single File Web Page Works Only in Internet Explorer
Everyone who doesn't have access to Internet Explorer will be unable to use this feature. This means it is not a good format for general usage.
Save As PDF
Word to PDF Conversion Needs Touch-Up
Using the built-in (free) Word-to-PDF utility creates a tagged PDF document with pretty good structure. The PDF will also retain the reading order in simple documents. Complex documents can be problematic, but that's going to be the case no matter what. You'll probably need to touch up the document in Acrobat Pro.
For Best Results, Use the Acrobat Pro Add-on for Word on Windows
When you install Acrobat Pro, it installs an add-on to the Ribbon in Word with some utilities for Acrobat conversion. Using the Acrobat Pro utilities will give you the best results when converting to PDF format. You may still need to touch up the final result in Acrobat Pro. This is important with complex documents, but the Acrobat Pro Add-on is still the most reliable tool for the job.
Choose either Create Adobe PDF or Create PDF/XPS Document (both options create a tagged document).
Save to OneDrive
Saving a document to OneDrive is a way of storing documents in the cloud. They can be accessed from the cloud from any device. OneDrive is similar to services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Sharing through Box.net, and iCloud. You can share files in OneDrive with other people. You can set permissions as read-only, or shared editing. If the person gets the file online, the file will likely open in the web browser. Some of the accessibility features may not be in the online version of MS Office.