Making Adobe PDFs accessible
A Portable Document Format (PDF) is a common file type designed to be shared and printed while preserving the document’s layout and appearance independent of any particular application or operating system.
However, just because PDFs are commonly used doesn’t mean they are always the best way to present content to users. Consult the When to use a PDF, Word document, or Web page decision tree to determine the most appropriate format for the content.
To make a PDF document accessible to screen reader users, the elements of its contents must be tagged according to an established information structure scheme. This concept is similar but not identical to XML or XHMTL markup.
There are two main ways to create accessible PDFs:
- Use Word, PowerPoint, or another Adobe tool to create a tagged document and then convert it to a PDF.
- Use Adobe Acrobat Pro to tag an inaccessible PDF that was scanned or made using other software.
Convert Word document to PDF
- Make sure Adobe Acrobat is installed (for ALA Staff, Adobe Acrobat Extended Pro 9 has been installed in the sixth floor Training room.)
- Enable accessibility settings for PDF files and convert Word document to a PDF.
- Word 2000-2003: File > Print Preview > Adobe PDF > Convert to Adobe PDF > Options > Select the Enable Accessibility and Reflow with tagged Adobe PDF checkbox if necessary > OK > Save.
- Word 2007: Microsoft Office button > Save As > Adobe PDF > Options > Select the Enable Accessibility and Reflow with tagged Adobe PDF checkbox if necessary > OK > Save.