Academic Outreach

Faculty Focused

Create Accessible PDF Documents

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by annek

Written by Shweta Kailani

This tutorial will give you a step-by-step guideline that covers the basics for creating and optimizing PDF files so that they can be made more accessible to users with disabilities. PDF files can be from different sources – scanned documents, Microsoft Office application documents, or other text and image editor applications. PDF is a standard file format used to distribute documents electronically. The files can be read by anyone using the free Adobe PDF Reader software. A PDF file, if successfully created as an accessible PDF, can be read out loud to the user using a screen reader.

Software Requirements

Adobe Acrobat Professional 9.0 or higher

Steps to Create an Accessible PDF document

Step 1: Preparation – Prepare your source document to create an accessible PDF
1. Create an accessible file (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) using Best Practices
2. Convert your file to PDF using Acrobat PDF maker plug in

Step 2: Review: Check your PDF accessibility
1. Require Adobe Acrobat Pro
2. Perform a “Full Check”

Step 3: Correct and Repair accessibility problems
1. Apply OCR to your PDF – Run “Text Recognition” if Acrobat Pro is recognizing your PDF as an image. (View > Tools > Recognize Text)
2. Add required tags (View >Tools > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document)
3. Adjust Reading Order problems (View > Tools > Accessibility > Touch Up Reading Order)

Step 4: Final Review: Re-run accessibility checks
1. Run “Full Check” on the document
2. Go to “View” and select “Read out loud” to simulate a screen reader and see if the application reads out your PDF in the manner you want it to be read.

For a video tutorial, visit How to Create Accessible PDFs from a Scanned page.