Document use self-assessment

Document use is the ability to find, understand or enter information (e.g. text, symbols, numbers) in different types of documents. Strong document use skills are essential in many workplaces and in everyday life. Completing a form, checking off items on a list of tasks, and plotting information on a graph are all examples of document use. Complete this self-assessment to help you understand your document use strengths and areas for improvement.


  1. Read each statement in Section 1 and place a check mark in the column that best describes how well you can complete that task.

    Tip: Think about your work and life experiences as you consider each task.
  2. Review your responses for each task. If you have checked five or more in the “Somewhat” and/or “No” columns, you may want to consider upgrading your document use skills.
  3. Complete Section 2 to identify your training needs.

Section 1: Self-assessment

I can… Yes Somewhat No
Locate specific information in a simple document.
Use key words or visual characteristics (e.g. colour, shape) to find information in a document.
Create short lists (e.g. to-do list).
Use a checklist.
Recognize common workplace symbols, icons, and/or signs.
Understand a simple invoice.
Understand product or packaging labels.
Enter information into simple forms, charts, or tables.
Locate multiple pieces of information in a document.
Use headings and sub-headings to find information in a document.
Understand and locate information on charts or graphs (such as line graphs, bar graphs, or pie charts).
Create simple diagrams to explain how something works.
Use a table of contents or index page to find specific topics.
Interpret detailed maps to find or give directions.
Plot information onto different types of graphs.
Enter several pieces of information into various forms, charts, or tables.
Locate multiple pieces of information in a complex document.
Understand and use a variety of complex documents.
Understand and use information from several documents to solve a problem.
Interpret blueprints.
Understand and use complex diagrams.
Create documents such as tables, charts, graphs, or scale drawings.
Compare and integrate information from other documents to complete forms.
Enter multiple pieces of information into complex forms, charts, or tables.

Section 2: Personal development

Completing this section will help you make informed training decisions.

  • Look at the “Yes” column in Section 1 to identify your strengths, and record them below.
  • Look at the “Somewhat” and/or “No” columns in Section 1 to identify the areas that you need to develop or strengthen, and record them below.

Document use strengths:

I am confident that I can…

E.g. understand and locate information on charts or graphs.

Tip: Consider using your strengths to help a colleague, friend or family member improve their document use skills.

Areas for improvement:

I would like to improve my ability to…

E.g. plot information onto different types of graphs.

Tip: When developing your training plan, focus on improving one or two abilities at a time.

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