Ways to Make an Accessible PDF

How to Make an Accessible PDF

To make a PDF document accessible to screen reader users, you have to tag the elements in your document (in Word, you would use Styles). 

There are two main ways to create accessible PDFs:

You may want to know more about what accessibility is, in regards to digital content, or how to test whether or not your content is accessible.

When to Make an Accessible PDF

Using the Decision Chart below, you can determine whether the document you need should be a Word document, Online Doc in Connect, Online Web Form,  Web page or PDF.

  • If you need user signature or variable information, you should consider requesting an online web form or editable PDF. 
  • If the audience using the form  are members of ALA, with access to ALA Connect, an Online Document is recommended. 
  • If you are compiling data to used as an informational resource, a Web page can do the trick, unless a PDF is preferable, depending on the size and how you plan to distribute it.
  • Use Word documents with caution, as there are constantly new versions of the program being released as well as  the issue of having several users revising the same document, cause issues with version control.

Is the document a form or survey? If yes, Does it need a signature? if yes, request a webform or Use and editable PDF. If Not, Use a web page.  If the document is not a form or survey requiring user action, Use a web page if it doesn't require context or it is part of a collection of other online material.  If the document is intened to be shared with members or customers independent of the ALA website, use a web page, unless it is intended to be editted.  If it is to be editted you can use a Word document, editable PDF or Web page, depending on whether or not it is intended as an informational resource.