Course Accessability

PDF Accessibility

Most PDF files are created from within other applications such as Word or PowerPoint to name just a few. As such, it is very important to ensure the original files are designed with accessibility in mind. If the original document is not accessible, the PDF file will not be accessible either.

The following content contains some tips for properly creating PDF files from Word and PowerPoint as well as how to check PDF accessibility within Adobe Acrobat.

PDF from Word

Assuming your Word document has been designed to be accessible, saving the document as a PDF should also result in an accessible PDF. You should still run the accessibility checker within Adobe Acrobat to make sure.

To save the Word document as a PDF:

  1. Select File > Save As.
  2. In the Save As field, enter the file name.
  3. In the Where field, select the location to which the file should be saved.
  4. In the Format field, select PDF.
    Note: Some versions of Word have a Save As PDF option that replaces 2 – 4.
  5. Click Save.

PDF from PowerPoint

Assuming your PowerPoint has been designed to be accessible, saving the document as a PDF should also result in an accessible PDF. The process is the same as that outlined in PDF from Word; however, saving the Notes or Outline as a PDF can only be accomplished from the File > Print option.

To print PowerPoint Notes or Outlines to a PDF:

  1. Select File > Print.
  2. In the Print What field, select Notes or Outline.
  3. At the bottom of the screen, select PDF.
  4. Click Save.
This does not guarantee the PDF will be accessible as the Alt Tags on images may not transfer to the PDF.

Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Check

Even if your Word or PowerPoint files are designed as accessible, they may not necessarily create a fully accessible PDF.  The following instructions outline how to run Accessibility Checker on a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Professional.

To run Accessibility Checker on a PDF:

  1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Professional.
  2. From the Tools menu, select Accessibility.
  3. From Accessibility, select Full Check.
  4. Accept the default selections in the Accessibility Checker Options prompt.
  5. Click Start Checking.

Fixing Accessibility Errors in a PDF

It is possible that not all image Alt Tags will be transferred to the PDF. Adobe PDF also requires the PDF to be properly tagged, titled, and have a set read order none of which can be set or predicted within the original. These are the most likely issues that will result in the Accessibility Check. The following is a quick overview of how to address the issues.

To resolve failed items:

  1. Right click the item marked as failed.
  2. From the resulting menu, select Fix.
  3. Depending on the item to be fixed a different prompt will appear. See examples below.