Checking and Remediating PDF Files for Accessibility
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Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) is widely used for publishing and delivering
documents on the Web. PDF documents preserve the appearance of the original
document contents and unlike HTML, printing is consistent. In addition it offers a
level of security that, for example, Microsoft Word does not.
Beginning with version 5 of Adobe Acrobat, it has been possible to create PDF files
that were accessible to screen reader users and each version has gotten better. At
this writing, the current version of Acrobat is 10 (or Acrobat X) but Acrobat 11 (or
Acrobat XI) will soon be available.
This document will guide you through the testing and remediation of PDF files for
which you may not have original documents. This guide begins after the PDF has
been created. For a through guide to creating accessible Word or PowerPoint
documents, see our companion document titled Best Practices for Creating
Accessible PDF Documents from Word and PowerPoint Documents.
Setting up Acrobat Professional X to Create Accessible PDF
To create accessible PDF files you will need Acrobat Professional. We will be working
with version 10 (X).
Open a PDF with Adobe Acrobat X Professional (Acrobat) by either double-clicking
on the file or by opening Acrobat and choosing File > Open and selecting the file to
First we will add the Accessibility Tools to the Toolbar for easy access.
If this is your first time opening Acrobat, or if you’ve not added Accessibility
Tools to your Toolbar, your Toolbar should look like Figure 1.
Figure 1 –Adobe Acrobat X toolbar with the default tools shown
Next, right-click on the Toolbar and choose Quick Tools as shown in Figure 2.