Creating Accessible PDFs

This Articles applies to: Content Editors, CMS Editors

  1. Create a word document and implement the guidelines in the Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Word guide, to ensure your document is properly prepared as an accessible document. This will help preserve the accessibility features of the Word document.
  2. After setting up your Word document, follow the Creating Accessible PDFs from Microsoft Word guide. This guide shows you how to save your document as the proper format that will preserve the document’s accessibility features.
  3. If you are creating a PDF form that will be filled out by an individual, follow the guidelines in the Creating Accessible PDF Forms Using Adobe Acrobat guide. By using Adobe Acrobat Pro you will be able to create a form that is interactive and can be completed using a computer. This will prevent barriers to the use of assistive technologies with your PDF form.
  4. For a summary of the steps to create a PDF form and making your PDF Form accessible to screen readers, please see the Making Fillable Forms Accessible for Screen Readers guide. Since tables pose a challenge for screen readers, documents including tables will need to be optimized and repaired after they are converted to a PDF. Follow the PDF Accessibility Repair: Examine and Repair Tables guide to apply additional table markup.  A great way to increase the accessibility of a table is to provide a caption that explains the data. Also, create simple tables. So many times tables are created with multiple layers of headers and split headers at that — avoid this if at all possible.
If you have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro to create and remediate PDF's, you will find these resources helpful: