- 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.
- Using the Acrobat Pro DC Accessibility Checker
- 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 commonly used screen reader can also help you identify problems.
- Accessing PDF Documents with Assistive Technology: A Screen Reader User’s Guide (PDF)
- Cheat Sheet of Screen Reader Commands for Reading PDFs
Learn more about Screen Reader Keyboard Shortcuts and Gestures.
- 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.