- Begin with an Accessible Source Document
- Convert to PDF
- Check Accessibility
- Tips and Techniques
PDF accessibility starts with the creation of a new document. Apply accessibility in the source document and verify that the source document meets accessibility requirements before converting to a PDF.
Determine whether the program (authoring tool) supports the production of an accessible electronic document.
- Microsoft Office
- Adobe Creative Cloud
MU has a contract with Adobe and recommends using Creative Cloud (includes Acrobat Pro).
- Use Acrobat Pro to convert to PDF
- Do not use “Print to PDF” or scan to PDF.
Once you have converted to a PDF, check the accessibility.
- Check accessibility in Acrobat Pro
- CommonLook PDF Validator is a free plugin within Adobe Acrobat
- Use the PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 3)
- Use Colour Contrast Analyzer to determine text legibility and visual contrast.
Automated tools cannot verify all issues and should be combined with manual testing. Testing with a screen reader can help.
- JAWS: Job Access With Speech (JAWS) is a commonly used robust screen reader for Windows and has a free demo mode.
- NVDA: NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is an open-source screen reader for Windows.
- VoiceOver: included with macOS and iOS.
- WCAG mapping to PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility)
- Determine whether a PDF is an image:
- Highlight text (copy/paste) to see whether text is detected.
- Do a search for words within the document.
- Fixing Inaccessible PDFs Using Acrobat Pro
- Convert scanned docs using Optical Character Recognition (OCR):
- Verify that the document is tagged.