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How to Make Digital Assets Accessible: PDFs
A resource to help you create accessible digital assets for your course
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, e.g. 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.
Why is tagging important?
PDF tags support readability of a document for screen readers. Watch the video below to see how a screen reader interacts with an untagged document.
Understanding PDF Tags
Understanding tags, tag labels, and tag structures can feel complex when first encountered. Before jumping into the technical details for how to fix PDF tagging issues, it's important to first understand how tagging works. View the video below for a quick overview of PDF tags.
Create Accessible PDFs from Word in Adobe Acrobat | Adobe Document Cloud
Creating an Accessible Scanned PDF
PDF Accessibility: Using the Accessibility Checker