General directions for creating accessible PDFsThe accessibility level of a document can depend on a variety of factors.
Two majors questions to ask yourself when evaluating a document for accessibility are:
- What was the original format of the document?
- How was the document converted to a PDF?
Important aspects to consider during your check
Other images may have some sort of function or convey important information and, therefore, need a different kind of description in the "alt" text.
Make sure your final document is not locked, allowing it to be accessed by screen readers and more. Locking a PDF is not the same as password protecting it.
Most software providers have detailed guides to ensure accessibility while using their programs.
- Attend the content formatting training »
- Create accessible PDFs using Microsoft Word »
- Create accessible PDFs using Microsoft Excel »
- Create accessible PDFs using Adobe InDesign »
Have you created an accessible document in Word, Excel or InDesign?
Congratulations - but you are not done yet! Always open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat and perform the Make Accessible feature. This is the final check needed to ensure that your document is in compliance. In most cases, this is where you will add/confirm the title of the document.
To run the Make Accessible feature in Adobe Acrobat:
- Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat
- Select Tools in the upper right hand corner
- Expand the Action Wizard and select Make Accessible
- Select Start and follow the prompts
Checking the document
Other things to consider
Additionally, avoid using references to content and information solely based on location on the page. Some users will receive the content in one long sequence, so instructions to click in a “box on the right” would not be meaningful or helpful to them. Supplement this by also including reference to a heading. For example, you could refer to “the box on the right with the heading Resources.
You should also make sure that documents can be zoomed to enlarge text without it becoming difficult to read. As users zoom in, text should not become pixelated. For this reason, avoid images of text as they don’t work well for several user groups, such as those with reading difficulties.
Lastly, avoid using text in images as it can’t be read by many types of assisted technologies. Text in an image can be defined as text that cannot be highlighted. Some aspects of accessibility can be checked automatically, while others need to be reviewed manually.