If you would like to convert your file to Portable Document Format (PDF) from your document, you want to do so in a way that lets you retain all the accessibility features you worked to incorporate.
PDF is an open standard file format that presents content consistently. It doesn't matter if you print it or view it on a device. The formatting remains the same.
When exporting a document as PDF, it's important to check the export settings to make sure that the PDF is tagged. A Tagged PDF uses tags and elements in a document such as alternative text, document properties, blockquote, paragraph, and headings, that when converted to PDF will be available to screen readers and add meaning to a page. It aids screen reader users with good content structure and makes sure the PDF is easy to navigate.
Save documents as tagged PDFs
- Start with a text document that is accessible.
- Save the document as an accessible PDF.
- Microsoft Word: Select File and Save As. Select PDF from the File Format menu. Select Best for electronic distribution and accessibility and select Export. To learn more, see Save a Word document as an accessible PDF.
- Don't use "Print to PDF". A scanned or "Print to PDF" file contains images of pages without an underlying text layer. It is completely inaccessible.
PDF Accessibility Checker
Run the Acrobat Accessibility Checker after converting your document. Adobe Acrobat has a very good built-in accessibility checker, run this checker to find and fix all the problem areas. Manual checking is needed to verify a logical reading order or alt text for images. There are a few free PDF accessibility checkers available online, one of them is CommonLook Validator. PDF Validator provides users with a certification report for each tested document.
Working with PDFs
Content of Image-Only PDF can be recognized as text by Acrobat. Use "Recognize Text" or "Text Recognition" tool to find text content. Then you will be able to edit the text with the Content Editing panel.
- Autotag Document if your PDF is not tagged.
- Use Reading Options to set all your document reading options.
- Reading Order tool allows to modify the reading order of the content.
- Identify Form Fields can help to automatically generate form field.
- Set Alternative Text tool discovers all graphics and gives an interface for adding alt-text for images.
Create accessible PDFs with Adobe Acrobat
If you have Adobe Acrobat you can create accessible PDFs as well as check existing PDFs to make sure they are accessible.
More on creating accessible PDFs with Adobe Acrobat