PDF accessibility begins when you create a new document (or digital source file). When creating a new document using applications like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign, you must apply accessibility practices before converting it to a PDF. Such practices mentioned throughout this website include adding heading levels, colors with good contrast, and sufficient alt text to informative images. It’s important to note that not all applications support the creation of accessible PDFs. See WebAIM’s Tags Structure Quality chart to learn more.
Convert the source document (or digital file) to PDF using Adobe Acrobat Professional once the source document is finished. DO NOT use the “Print to PDF” or Scan to PDF options to convert files to PDF. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Pro, visit the Division of IT Adobe Software pricing page.
Always check a PDF file before uploading it to your website to ensure it is accessible.
PDFs Remain a Challenge for Section 508 Compliance, and older PDFs are more likely to be inaccessible and should be recreated to ensure accessibility. Create a new source document if you only have the PDF version.
Finally, always consider when you should or shouldn’t use a PDF.
- PDF accessibility overview (Adobe)
- Defining PDF Accessibility (WebAIM) – updated
- Create & verify PDF accessibility (Adobe)
- Create accessible PDF Forms Using Adobe Acrobat Pro (Adobe)
- Prepare InDesign documents for accessible PDF export (Adobe)
- Acrobat accessibility videos (Adobe)
- Contracted Document Remediation Providers