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How to Make Digital Assets Accessible: PDFs

A resource to help you create accessible digital assets for your cours

PDFs used for teaching and learning must be in an accessible format so that people with disabilities using assistive or adaptive technology can access the information.

TIP:  The Accessibility Checker checks your PDFs for any issues with regard to accessibility. To learn more, visit Microsoft's website page on the Accessibility Checker

Accessibility Guidelines for PDFs

This is an overview of the elements that require special consideration when creating accessible PDFs. Please review one of the Additional Resources for detailed instructions on any of the following:

  • Know when to use a PDF. When appearance or security is critical. For most cases, HTML or Word is a better choice.
  • Use a version no older than Acrobat 5.0 to create PDF documents. Acrobat 5.0 has new features that are critical for the accessibility of PDF documents. 
  • Tag all documents for easier reading by screen readers and other assistive technologies.
  • Make sure security is formatted correctly to allow for assistive devices.
  • Provide a text equivalent for any multimedia that includes speech, or music with lyrics.
  • Include all important or relevant parts of the document as part of the document structure.
  • Follow guidelines for creating accessible documents and images.


Check back for updates to this section. Subscribe to the CAT mailing list to receive notification of updates and other information. Visit the CAT website to subscribe.

How to Video

Additional Resources

Accessibility Check

To check:


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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