PDF is one of the most widely used format to share information on the web. Corporates, Government organizations, educational institutes share information in the form of annual reports, books, brochures, publications or even user manuals on the web as PDF files. The question that often gets asked is that are PDFs accessible to people with disabilities?

An accessible PDF is one that can also be accessed by a person with disability using an assistive technology like a screen reader or a reading software.

Following are some of the requirements of an accessible PDF Remediation:

  • Tagging PDF
  • Setting the language of the document or content
  • Setting the correct reading order
  • Marking the appropriate heading structure
  • Tagging the tables whether complex or simple
  • Marking lists whether numbered, bulleted or nested
  • Providing the image description
  • Marking elements as artifacts

3 resources that can assist you in creating accessible PDF documents:

  1. WebAim: WebAim defines PDF accessibility and explains the difference between Acrobat, Adobe and PDF which are often used interchangeably, but are not the same. WebAim outlines the accessibility features of Acrobat and steps that are required to ensure the accessibility of a PDFs and PDF form.
  2. Adobe: This page by Adobe provides a step by step guide to use Adobe Acrobat software to make your PDF file accessible for people with low vision and the blind. The steps help you create accessible PDFs to meet common accessibility standards, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and PDF/UA.
  3. Creating Accessible Documents by University of Washington: This page by the University of Washington outlines the basic steps that are required to create accessible PDF files from your HTML, Word, or PDF document.

These are great places to start to ensure your documents are accessible. If you need additional support, do sign up and try our cloud based service at 247 Accessible Documents for free.

By Ramya Venkitesh

Head - Accessibility New Initiatives, Actively involved in formulating new ideas to create Innovative Accessible Solutions across all Disabilities.

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