Making a PDF file Accessible

For pdf's the best approach is to "start accessible."  Refer to the "Do It Yourself" page for more information on "easy fixes" for digital accessibility.

Creating a pdf from an existing document:

The MSOffice Suite contains an accessibility checker that can be easily accessed to review the accessibility of your Word or PowerPoint files.  In the Menu, go to File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility.  This will create a report that will appear on a window at the right hand of your document.  The report offers guidance as to how to address any findings.

When you are ready to turn the document into a pdf. Go to File>Save As and select pdf in the pull down menu for types of files.  Do not print to pdf because this functionality creates an inaccessible file.

Creating an original pdf:

Adobe Acrobat X Professional has an accessibility tool.  Go to Tools>Accessibility>Full Check>Start Checking.  A report with recommendations will appear on a window to the left of the document.  A document that started accessible from the original application (for instance, a Word document that was made accessible before being saved as pdf) should have fewer to no findings.

Scanning a document:

When you scan a document use the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) feature, either at the printer/scanner or in the software you use to launch the scan.  OCR technology enables the hardware to detect letters so that the document is readable by a screen reader.

Addressing accessibility in Adobe Acrobat X Pro:

If it’s only one file:

  1. Open Acrobat X Pro.
  2. Go to File> Open. Go to the appropriate file location and select it.
  3. Open Tools> Recognize text> In this file.
  4. Open Tools> Accessibility> Add Tags to Document.
  5. Go to File> Properties> Advanced> Language and select the appropriate language.
  6. Go to Accessibility menu (on Tools) and click on Full Check.
  7. If there are any findings the report generated will indicate ways of remediating them.

For multiple files:

  1. Open Acrobat X Pro.
  2. Drag and drop the files to the window that appears.
  3. Repeat steps 4-7 above for each document.