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Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro)

  1. Acrobat User Guide
  2. Introduction to Acrobat
    1. Acrobat DC tutorials
    2. What's new in Acrobat DC
    3. Create PDFs with Acrobat
    4. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    5. Edit text in PDFs
    6. Convert PDF to Word
    7. Convert PDF to JPG
    8. Convert or export PDFs to other file formats
    9. Get started with Acrobat DC
    10. Navigating PDF pages
    11. Workspace basics | Acrobat DC
    12. System Requirements | Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, Adobe Acrobat Standard DC
    13. Workspace basics | Acrobat DC 2017, Acrobat DC Classic (2015)
  3. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics | Acrobat DC
    2. Workspace basics | Acrobat DC 2017, Acrobat DC Classic (2015)
    3. Viewing PDFs and viewing preferences
    4. Navigating PDF pages
    5. Adjusting PDF views
    6. Keyboard shortcuts
    7. Connect your online storage accounts to access files in Acrobat
    8. Grids, guides, and measurements in PDFs
    9. Flash Player needed | Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    10. Display PDF in browser | Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    11. Updating Acrobat and using Adobe Digital Editions
    12. Opening PDFs
    13. Asian, Cyrillic, and right-to-left text in PDFs
    14. Acrobat in Mac OS | Acrobat Pro
    15. Access Box files in Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    16. Access Dropbox files in Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    17. Access OneDrive files in Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    18. Access SharePoint files in Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    19. Access Google Drive files in Acrobat
    20. Enable thumbnail preview of PDFs in Windows Explorer
    21. Document Cloud notifications
  4. Creating PDFs
    1. Create PDFs with Acrobat
    2. Create PDFs with PDFMaker (Windows)
    3. Print to PDF
    4. Scan documents to PDF
    5. Overview of PDF creation
    6. Using the Adobe PDF printer
    7. Converting web pages to PDF
    8. PDF fonts
    9. Creating PDFs with Acrobat Distiller
    10. Adobe PDF conversion settings
  5. Editing PDFs
    1. Edit PDF using Acrobat DC
    2. Edit text in PDFs
    3. Edit images or objects in a PDF
    4. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    5. Edit scanned PDFs
    6. Enhance document photos captured using a mobile camera
    7. Optimizing PDFs
    8. PDF properties and metadata
    9. Links and attachments in PDFs
    10. PDF layers
    11. Page thumbnails and bookmarks in PDFs
    12. Action Wizard (Acrobat Pro)
    13. PDFs converted to web pages
    14. Setting up PDFs for a presentation
    15. PDF articles
    16. Geospatial PDFs
    17. Applying actions and scripts to PDFs
    18. Change the default font for adding text and fallback font for editing PDF
    19. Delete pages from a PDF
  6. Scan and OCR
    1. Scan documents to PDF
    2. Enhance document photos captured using a mobile camera
    3. Edit scanned PDFs
    4. Troubleshoot scanner issues when scanning using Acrobat
  7. Forms
    1. PDF forms basics
    2. Create a form from scratch in Acrobat
    3. Create and distribute PDF forms
    4. Fill in PDF forms
    5. PDF form field properties
    6. Fill and sign PDF forms
    7. Setting action buttons in PDF forms
    8. Publishing interactive PDF web forms
    9. PDF form field basics
    10. PDF barcode form fields
    11. Collect and manage PDF form data
    12. About forms tracker
    13. PDF forms help
    14. Send PDF forms to recipients using email or an internal server
  8. Combining files
    1. Combine or merge files into single PDF
    2. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    3. Add headers, footers, and Bates numbering to PDFs
    4. Crop PDF pages
    5. Add watermarks to PDFs
    6. Add backgrounds to PDFs
    7. Working with component files in a PDF Portfolio
    8. Publish and share PDF Portfolios
    9. Overview of PDF Portfolios
    10. Create and customize PDF Portfolios
  9. Sharing, reviews, and commenting
    1. Share and track PDFs online
    2. Mark up text with edits
    3. Preparing for a PDF review
    4. Starting a PDF review
    5. Hosting shared reviews on SharePoint or Office 365 sites
    6. Participating in a PDF review
    7. Use annotation and drawing markup tools to add comments in PDFs
    8. Adding a stamp to a PDF
    9. Approval workflows
    10. Managing comments | view, reply, print
    11. Importing and exporting comments
    12. Tracking and managing PDF reviews
    13. Adobe Document Cloud for Outlook
  10. Saving and exporting PDFs
    1. Saving PDFs
    2. Convert PDF to Word
    3. Convert PDF to JPG
    4. Convert or export PDFs to other file formats
    5. File format options for PDF export
    6. Reusing PDF content
  11. Security
    1. Enhanced security setting for PDFs
    2. Securing PDFs with passwords
    3. Manage Digital IDs
    4. Securing PDFs with certificates
    5. Opening secured PDFs
    6. Removing sensitive content from PDFs
    7. Setting up security policies for PDFs
    8. Choosing a security method for PDFs
    9. Security warnings when a PDF opens
    10. Securing PDFs with Adobe Experience Manager - Forms Server (Document Security)
    11. Protected View feature for PDFs (Windows only)
    12. Overview of security in Acrobat and PDFs
    13. JavaScripts in PDFs as a security risk
    14. Attachments as security risks in Acrobat DC and Acrobat Reader DC
    15. Allow or block links in PDFs for all or selected websites
  12. Electronic signatures
    1. Sign PDF documents
    2. Capture your signature on mobile and use it everywhere
    3. Send documents for signature
    4. About certificate signatures in Adobe Acrobat
    5. Certificate-based signatures
    6. Validating digital signatures
    7. Adobe Approved Trust List
    8. Manage trusted identities
  13. Printing
    1. Basic PDF printing tasks
    2. Print Booklets and PDF Portfolios
    3. Advanced PDF print settings
    4. Print to PDF
    5. Printing color PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Printing PDFs in custom sizes
  14. Accessibility, tags, and reflow
    1. Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro)
    2. Accessibility features in PDFs
    3. Reading Order tool for PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    4. Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features
    5. Edit document structure with the Content and Tags panels (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Creating accessible PDFs
  15. Searching and indexing
    1. Creating PDF indexes
    2. Searching PDFs
  16. Multimedia and 3D models
    1. Add audio, video, and interactive objects to PDFs
    2. Adding 3D models to PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Displaying 3D models in PDFs
    4. Interacting with 3D models
    5. Measuring 3D objects in PDFs
    6. Setting 3D views in PDFs
    7. Enable 3D content in PDF
    8. Adding multimedia to PDFs
    9. Commenting on 3D designs in PDFs
    10. Playing video, audio, and multimedia formats in PDFs
    11. Add comments to videos (Acrobat Pro)
  17. Print production tools (Acrobat Pro)
    1. Print production tools overview (Acrobat Pro)
    2. Printer marks and hairlines (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Previewing output (Acrobat Pro)
    4. Transparency flattening (Acrobat Pro)
    5. Color conversion and ink management (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Trapping color (Acrobat Pro)
  18. Preflight (Acrobat Pro)
    1. PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files (Acrobat Pro)
    2. Preflight profiles (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Advanced preflight inspections (Acrobat Pro)
    4. Preflight reports (Acrobat Pro)
    5. Viewing preflight results, objects, and resources (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Output intents in PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    7. Correcting problem areas with the Preflight tool (Acrobat Pro)
    8. Automating document analysis with droplets or preflight actions (Acrobat Pro)
    9. Analyzing documents with the Preflight tool (Acrobat Pro)
    10. Additional checks in the Preflight tool (Acrobat Pro)
    11. Preflight libraries (Acrobat Pro)
    12. Preflight variables (Acrobat Pro)
  19. Color management
    1. Keeping colors consistent
    2. Color settings
    3. Color-managing documents
    4. Working with color profiles
    5. Understanding color management
Note:

The Full Check tool is renamed to Accessibility Check in Acrobat DC (May 2020 release)

Acrobat tools make it easy to create accessible PDFs and check the accessibility of existing PDFs. You can create PDFs to meet common accessibility standards, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and PDF/UA (Universal Access, or ISO 14289). The simple, guided workflow lets you do the following:

Make PDFs accessible: A predefined action automates many tasks, checks accessibility, and provides instructions for items that require manual fixes. Quickly find and fix problem areas.

Check accessibility: The Full Check/Accessibility Check tool verifies whether the document conforms to accessibility standards, such as PDF/UA and WCAG 2.0.

Report accessibility status: The Accessibility Report summarizes the findings of the accessibility check. It contains links to tools and documentation that assist in fixing problems.

Make PDFs accessible (Acrobat Pro)

The Make Accessible action walks you through the steps required to make a PDF accessible. It prompts to address accessibility issues, such as a missing document description or title. It looks for common elements that need further action, such as scanned text, form fields, tables, and images. You can run this action on all PDFs except dynamic forms (XFA documents) or portfolios.

  1. Choose Tools > Action Wizard.

    The Action Wizard toolset is displayed in the secondary toolbar.

    Note:

    A list of available actions is displayed under the Action List in the right-hand pane.

  2. From the Actions List, click Make Accessible.

    The right-hand pane changes to display each task included in the Make Accessible action, as well as the instructions to execute the action.

  3. Select the files that you want to apply the Make Accessible action to. By default, the action runs on the document that's currently open. Select Add Files to select additional files or a folder to run the action on.

    Make PDFs accessible
    Select Add Files to run the report on additional files or folders.

  4. Click Start.

  5. Follow the prompts to complete the Make Accessible action.

Check accessibility of PDFs (Acrobat Pro)

A good way to check the accessibility of a document is to use tools that your readers will use. Even if you do not have access to those tools, Adobe Acrobat provides an automated way to check the accessibility of a PDF file. The Full Check/Accessibility Check feature in Acrobat checks a PDF for many of the characteristics of accessible PDFs. You can choose which accessibility problems to look for and how you want the results reported.

  1. Choose Tools > Accessibility.

    The Accessibility toolset is displayed in the secondary toolbar.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, click Full Check/Accessibility Check.

    The Accessibility Checker Options dialog box is displayed.

  3. In the Report Options section, select options for how you want to view the results. You can save the results as an HTML file on your system, or attach the results file to the document itself.

  4. Select a page range if you prefer to check individual pages of a document.

    Note:

    When you have a large document, running a full check/accessibility check one page at a time can be more efficient.

  5. Select one or more of the Checking Options.

  6. Click Start Checking. The results are displayed in the Accessibility Checker panel on the left, which also has helpful links and hints for repairing issues. If you created a report in step 2, the results are available in the selected folder.

    Because the Full Check/Accessibility Check feature cannot distinguish between essential and nonessential content types, some issues it reports don’t affect readability. It’s a good idea to review all issues to determine which ones require correction.

    The report displays one of the following statuses for each rule check:

    • Passed: The item is accessible.
    • Skipped By User: Rule was not checked because it wasn't selected in the Accessibility Checker Options dialog box.
    • Needs Manual Check: The Full Check/Accessibility Check feature couldn't check the item automatically. Verify the item manually.
    • Failed: The item didn't pass the accessibility check.
    Accessibility Checker in Acrobat
    Accessibility Checker rules statuses.

Note:

In addition to Full Check/Accessibility Check, Acrobat provides other methods to check PDF accessibility:

  • Use Reflow view to quickly check the reading order.
  • Use Read Out Loud to experience the document as readers who use the text-to-speech conversion tool experience it.
  • Save the document as accessible text and then read the saved text file in a word-processing application. This exercise enables you to emulate the end-user experience of readers who use a braille printer to read the document.
  • Use the Reading Order tool, Order, Tags, and Content panels to examine the structure, reading order, and contents of a PDF.

Fix accessibility issues (Acrobat Pro)

To fix a failed check after running Full Check/Accessibility Check, right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the item in the Accessibility Checker panel. Choose one of the following options from the context menu:

Fix:

Acrobat either fixes the item automatically, or displays a dialog box prompting you to fix the item manually.

Skip Rule:

Deselects this option in the Accessibility Checker Options dialog box for future checks of this document, and changes the item status to Skipped.

Explain:

Opens the online Help  where you can get more details about the accessibility issue.

Check Again:

Runs the checker again on all items. Choose this option after modifying one or more items.

Show Report:

Displays a report with links to tips on how to repair failed checks.

Options:

Opens the Accessibility Checker Options dialog box, so you can select which checks are performed.

Accessibility issues

Document

Prevent security settings from interfering with screen readers

A document author can specify that no part of an accessible PDF is to be copied, printed, extracted, commented on, or edited. This setting could interfere with a screen reader's ability to read the document, because screen readers must be able to copy or extract the document's text to convert it to speech.

This flag reports whether it's necessary to turn on the security settings that allow accessibility.

To fix the rule automatically, select Accessibility Permission Flag on the Accessibility Checker panel. Then, choose Fix from the Options menu.

Or, fix accessibility permissions manually:

  1. Choose File > Properties > Security.

  2. Choose No Security from the Security Method drop-down list.

  3. Click OK and close the Document Properties dialog box.

If your assistive technology product is registered with Adobe as a Trusted Agent, you can read PDFs that might be inaccessible to another assistive technology product. Acrobat recognizes when a screen reader or other product is a Trusted Agent and overrides security settings that would typically limit access to the content for accessibility purposes. However, the security settings remain in effect for all other purposes, such as to prevent printing, copying, extracting, commenting, or editing text.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Image-only PDF

Reports whether the document contains non-text content that is not accessible. If the document appears to contain text, but doesn't contain fonts, it could be an image-only PDF file.

To fix this rule check automatically, select Image-only PDF on the Accessibility Checker panel, and choose Fix from the Options menu.

Or, to fix this rule check manually, use OCR to recognize text in scanned images:

  1. Choose Tools > Scan & OCR.

    The Scan toolset is displayed in the secondary toolbar.

  2. In the secondary toolbar, choose Recognize Text > In This File.

  3. Select the pages you want to process, the document language, and then click  Recognize Text.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.1.1. Non-text content (A)

Tagged PDF

If this rule check fails, the document isn't tagged to specify the correct reading order.

To fix this item automatically, select Tagged PDF on the Accessibility Checker panel, and then choose Fix from the Options menu . Acrobat automatically adds tags to the PDF.

To specify tags manually, do one of the following:

  • Enable tagging in the application in which the PDF was authored, and re-create the PDF.
  • Choose Tools > AccessibilityAutotag Document in Acrobat. The Add Tags Report appears in the navigation pane if there are any issues. The report lists potential problems by page, provides a navigational link to each problem, and provides suggestions for fixing them.
  • Choose Tools > Accessibility > Reading Order in Acrobat, and create the tags tree. For more information, see Reading Order tool overview.
  • Open the Tags panel and create the tags tree manually. To display the Tags panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags. For more information, see Edit document structure with the Content and Tags panel.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships, 1.3.2, 2.4.1, 2.4.4, 2.4.5, 2.4.6, 3.1.2, 3.3.2, 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Logical reading order

Verify this rule check manually. Make sure that the reading order displayed in the Tags panel coincides with the logical reading order of the document.

Document language

Setting the document language in a PDF enables some screen readers to switch to the appropriate language. This check determines whether the primary text language for the PDF is specified. If the check fails, set the language.

To set the language automatically, select Primary Language in the Accessibility Checker tab, and then choose Fix from the Options menu. Choose a language in the Set Reading Language dialog box, and then click OK.

To set the language manually, do one of the following:

  • Choose File > Properties > Advanced and then select a language from the drop-down list in the Reading Options section. (If the language doesn't appear in the drop-down list, you can enter the ISO 639 code for the language in the Language field.) This setting applies the primary language for the entire PDF.
  • Set the language for all text in a subtree of the tags tree. Open the Tags panel. Expand the Tags root and select an element. Then choose Properties from the Options menu. Choose a language from the Language drop-down list. (To display the Tags panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.)
  • Set the language for a block of text by selecting the text element or container element in the Content panel. Then, right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the text and choose Properties from the context menu and choose a language from the Language drop-down list. (To display the Content panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content.)
Note:

See the related WCAG section: Language of Page (Level A)

Title

Reports whether there is a title in the Acrobat application title bar.

To fix the title automatically, select Title in the Accessibility Checker tab, and choose Fix from the Options menu. Enter the document title in the Description dialog box (deselect Leave As Is, if necessary).

Or, fix the title manually:

  1. Choose File > Properties > Description.

  2. Enter a title in the Title text box.

  3. Click Initial View, and then choose Document Title from the Show drop-down list. 

  4. Click OK to close the Description dialog box.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 2.4 Page Titled (Level A)

Bookmarks

This check fails when the document has 21 or more pages, but doesn't have bookmarks that parallel the document structure.

To add bookmarks to the document, select Bookmarks on the Accessibility Checker panel, and choose Fix from the Options menu. In the Structure Elements dialog box, select the elements that you want to use as bookmarks, and click OK. (You can also access the Structure Elements dialog box by clicking the Options menu on the Bookmark tab and selecting the New Bookmarks From Structure command.)

Note:

See the related WCAG sections: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks (Level A), 2.4.5 Multiple Ways (Level AA)

Color contrast

When this check fails, it's possible that the document contains content that isn't accessible to people who are color-blind.

To fix this issue, make sure that the document's content adheres to the guidelines outlined in WCAG section 1.4.3. Or, include a recommendation that the PDF viewer use high-contrast colors:

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Acrobat > Preferences (Mac OS).

  2. Click Accessibility.

  3. Select Replace Document Colors, and then select Use High-Contrast Colors. Choose the color combination that you want from the drop-down list, and then click OK.

Page content

Tagged content

This check reports whether all content in the document is tagged. Make sure that all content in the document is either included in the Tags tree, or marked as an artifact.

Do one of the following to fix this rule check:

  • Open the Content panel and right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the content that you want to mark as an artifact. Then, select Create Artifact from the context menu. (To display the Content tab, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content.)
  • Tag the content by choosing Tools > Accessibility > Reading Order. Select the content, and then apply tags as necessary.
  • Assign tags using the Tags panel. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the element in the Tags tree, and choose Create Tag From Selection. Items such as comments, links, and annotations don't always appear in the Tags tree. To find these items, choose Find from the Options menu. (To display the Tags panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.)
Note:

See the related WCAG sections: 1.1.1 Non-text content (A), 1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A), 1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence (Level A), 2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context) (Level A), 3.1.2 Language of Parts (Level AA), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Tagged annotations

This rule checks whether all annotations are tagged. Make sure that annotations such as comments and editorial marks (such as insert and highlight) are either included in the Tags tree or marked as artifacts.

  • Open the Content panel , and right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the content that you want to mark as an artifact. Then, select Create Artifact from the context menu. (To display the Content panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content.)
  • Tag the content by choosing Tools > Accessibility > Reading Order. Select the content, and then apply tags as necessary.
  • Assign tags using the Tags panel . (To display the Tags panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.)

To have Acrobat assign tags automatically to annotations as they're created, choose Tag Annotations from the Options menu on the Tags panel.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships (Level A), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Tab order

Because tabs are often used to navigate a PDF, it's necessary that the tab order parallels the document structure.

To fix the tab order automatically, select Tab Order on the Accessibility Checker panel, and choose Fix from the Options menu.

To manually fix the tab order for links, form fields, comments, and other annotations:

  1. Click the Page Thumbnails panel on the navigation pane.

  2. Click a page thumbnail, and then choose Page Properties from the Options menu.

  3. In the Page Properties dialog box, choose Tab Order. Then, select Use Document Structure, and click OK.

  4. Repeat these steps for all thumbnails in the document.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 2.4.3, Focus Order (Level A)

Character encoding

Specifying the encoding helps PDF viewers' present users with readable text. However, some character-encoding issues aren't repairable within Acrobat.

To ensure proper encoding, do the following:

  • Verify that the necessary fonts are installed on your system.
  • Use a different font (preferably OpenType) in the original document, and then re-create the PDF.
  • Re-create the PDF file with a newer version of Acrobat Distiller.
  • Use the latest Adobe Postscript driver to create the PostScript file, and then re-create the PDF.
Note:

The WCAG doesn't address Unicode character mapping.

Tagged multimedia

This rule checks whether all multimedia objects are tagged. Make sure that content is either included in the Tags tree or marked as an artifact.

Open the Content panel and right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the content that you want to mark as an artifact. Then, select Create Artifact from the context menu. (To display the Content panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content.)

Tag the content by choosing Tools > Accessibility > Reading Order. Select the content, and then apply tags as necessary.

Assign tags using the Tags panel. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the element in the Tags tree, and choose Create Tag From Selection. (To display the Tags panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.)

Note:

See the related WCAG sections: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A), 1.2.1 Audio- only and Video- only (Prerecorded). (A), 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded). (A), 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded). (A), 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded). (AA)

Screen flicker

Elements that make the screen flicker, such as animations and scripts, can cause seizures in individuals who have photosensitive epilepsy. These elements can also be difficult to see when the screen is magnified.

If the Screen Flicker rule fails, manually remove or modify the script or content that causes screen flicker.

Note:

See these related WCAG sections: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A), 1.2.1 Audio- only and Video- only (Prerecorded). (A), 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded). (A), 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded). (A), 2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold. (Level A)

Scripts

Content cannot be script-dependent unless both content and functionality are accessible to assistive technologies. Make sure that scripting doesn't interfere with keyboard navigation or prevent the use of any input device.

Check the scripts manually. Remove or modify any script or content that compromises accessibility.

Note:

See these related WCAG sections: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A), 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide. (Level A), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Timed responses

This rule check applies to documents that contain forms with JavaScript. If the rule check fails, make sure that the page does not require timed responses. Edit or remove scripts that impose timely user response so that users have enough time to read and use the content.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 2.2.1 Timing Adjustable. (Level A)

For URLs to be accessible to screen readers, they must be active links that are correctly tagged in the PDF. (The best way to create accessible links is with the Create Link command, which adds all three links that screen readers require to recognize a link.) Make sure that navigation links are not repetitive and that there is a way for users to skip over repetitive links.

If this rule check fails, check navigation links manually and verify that the content does not have too many identical links. Also, provide a way for users to skip over items that appear multiple times. For example, if the same links appear on each page of the document, also include a "Skip navigation" link.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks. (Level A)

Forms

Tagged form fields

In an accessible PDF, all form fields are tagged and are a part of the document structure. In addition, you can use the tool tip form filed property to provide the user with information or to provide instructions.

To tag form fields, choose Tools > Accessibility > Autotag Form Fields.

Note:

See the related WCAG sections: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Field descriptions

For accessibility, all form fields need a text description (tool tip).

To add a text description to a form field:

  1. Select one of the Form tools, and then right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the form field.
  2. Choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. Click the General properties tab.
  4. Enter a description of the form field in the Tooltip field.
Note:

See the related WCAG sections: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A), 3.3.2 Labels or Instructions (Level A), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Alternate text

Figures alternate text

Make sure that images in the document either have alternate text or are marked as artifacts.

If this rule check fails, do one of the following:

  • Select Figures Alternate Text in the Accessibility Checker panel, and choose Fix from the Options menu. Add alternate text as prompted in the Set Alternate Text dialog box.
  • Use the Tags panel to add alternate text for images in the PDF.
  • Open the Content panel and right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the content that you want to mark as an artifact. Then, select Create Artifact from the context menu. (To display the Content panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content.)
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A)

Nested alternate text

Screen readers don't read the alternate text for nested elements. Therefore, don't apply alternate text to nested elements.

To remove alternate text from nested elements, do the following:

  1. Choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) a nested element in the Tags panel and choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. Remove both the Alternate Text and the text to which it's applied from the Object Properties dialog box, and then click Close.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: #1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A)

Associated with content

Make sure that alternate text is always an alternate representation for content on the page. If an element has alternate text, but does not contain any page content, there is no way to determine which page it is on. If the Screen Reader Option in the Reading preferences is not set to read the entire document, then screen readers never read the alternate text.

  1. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) an item to check.
  2. Open it in the Tags panel. (To display the Tags panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.)
  3. Remove the Alternate Text from the Tags panel for any nested item that has no page content.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A)

Hides annotation

Alternate text can't hide an annotation. If an annotation is nested under a parent element with alternate text, then screen readers don't see it.

To remove alternate text from nested elements:

  1. Choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) a nested element in the Tags panel and choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. Remove the alternate text from the Object Properties dialog box, and then click OK.
Note:

See the related WCAG sections: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A), 4.1.2 Name, role, value

Other elements alternate text

This report checks for content, other than figures, that requires alternate text (such as multimedia, annotation, or 3D model). Make sure that alternate text is always an alternate representation for content on the page. If an element has alternate text but does not contain any page content, there is no way to determine which page it is on. If the Screen Reader Options in the Reading preferences is not set to read the entire document, then screen readers don't read the alternate text.

  1. Choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Tags.
  2. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) a nested element in the Tags panel and choose Properties from the context menu.
  3. Remove the alternate text from the Object Properties dialog box, and then click OK.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A)

Tables

Because table structure can be complex, it is best practice to check them for accessibility manually.

Rows

This rule checks whether each TR in a table is a child of Table, THead, TBody, or TFoot.

See Correct table tags with the Tags panel.

Note:

Related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

TH and TD

In a proper table structure, TH and TD are children of TR.

See Correct table tags with the Tags panel.

Note:

See related WCAG section: #1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

Headers

For accessibility, it's necessary that all tables in the PDF have a header.

See Correct table tags with the Tags panel.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

Regularity

To be accessible, tables must contain the same number of columns in each row, and rows in each column.

See Correct table tags with the Tags panel.

Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

Summary

Table summaries are optional, but can improve accessibility.

  1. Choose Tools > Accessibility > Reading Order.
  2. Select the table by drawing a rectangle around it. 
  3. In the Reading Order dialog box, click Table.
  4. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) Table.
  5. Click Edit Table Summary.
  6. Enter a summary and click OK.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

Lists

List items

The check reports whether each List Item (LI) is a child of List (L). When this rule check fails, the structure of this list is incorrect. Lists must have the following structure: A List element must contain List Item Elements. And, List Item Elements can only contain Label Elements and List Item Body Elements.

To fix the list structure:

  1. Find the list in the Accessibility Checker panel by right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking (Mac OS) the failed element and choosing Show In Tags Panel.
  2. Create elements, change the types of elements, or rearrange existing elements by dragging them.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

Lbl and LBody

Lists must have the following structure: A List element must contain List Item Elements. And, List Item Elements can only contain Label Elements and List Item Body Elements. When this rule check fails, the structure of this list is incorrect.

To fix the list structure:

  1. Find the list in the Accessibility Checker panel by right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking (Mac OS) the failed element and choosing Show In Tags Panel.
  2. Create elements, change the types of elements, or rearrange existing elements by dragging them.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)

Headings

Appropriate nesting

This rule checks nested headings. When this check fails, headings are not nested properly.

To fix the list structure:

  1. Find the list in the Accessibility Checker panel by right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking (Mac OS) the failed element and choosing Show in Tags Panel.
  2. Create elements, change the types of elements, or rearrange existing elements by dragging them.
Note:

See the related WCAG section: 2.4.6 Headings and Labels. (Level AA). The order of headings is not required under WCAG, and is only an advisory technique.

WCAG mapping to PDF/UA

WCAG 2.0 ISO 14289 -1 (File) Techniques
1.1.1 Non-text Content. (A)
  • 7.3 addresses content requiring text alteration.
  • 7.18.1 paragraph four addresses control descriptions.
  • 7.18.6.2 addresses time-based media alternatives. Test, Sensory, and CAPTCHA use-cases are addressed via the technical means used.
  • 7.1 paragraph 1, sentence 2 addresses decoration.
1.2.1 Audio- only and Video- only (Prerecorded). (A)
  • 7.18.6.2 addresses time-based media alternatives. Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded). (A)
  • 7.18.6.2 addresses time-based media alternatives. Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded). (A)
  • 7.18.6.2 addresses time-based media alternatives. Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
1.2.4 Captions (Live). (AA)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded). (AA)
  • 7.18.6.2 addresses time-based media alternatives. Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
1.2.6 Sign Language (Prerecorded). (AAA)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
 
1.2.7 Extended Audio Description (Prerecorded). (AAA)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance
 
1.2.8 Media Alternative (Prerecorded). (AAA)
  • 7.18.6.2 addresses time-based media alternatives. Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
 
1.2.9 Audio- only (Live). (AAA)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
 
1.3.1 Info and Relationships. (Level A)
  • 7.1 - 7.10 and 7.20 address structure and relationships in content.
  • 7.17 and 7.18 address structure and relationships in annotations.
1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence. (Level A)
  • 7.2 paragraph two addresses the meaningful sequence of content.
  • 7.17 addresses navigation features.
  • 7.18.3 addresses tab order in annotations.
1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics. (Level A)
  • 7.1, paragraphs 6 and 7
1.4.1 Use of Color. (Level A)
  • 7.1, paragraph 6
1.4.2 Audio Control. (Level A)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum). (Level AA)
  • 7.1, paragraph 6 and note 4
1.4.4 Resize text. (Level AA)
  • Not applicable
1.4.5 Images of Text. (Level AA)
  • 7.3, paragraph 6
1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced). (Level AAA)
  • 7.1, paragraph 6
 
1.4.7 Low or No Background Audio. (Level AAA)
  • While ISO 14289 does not address this success criterion, conformance in PDF requires ISO 14289 conforming files and readers. The manner in which developers support this success criterion in PDF in not defined in ISO 14289 or ISO 32000.
 
1.4.8 Visual Presentation. (Level AAA)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
 
1.4.9 Images of Text (No Exception). (Level AAA)
  • 7.3 paragraph 1
 
2.1.1 Keyboard. (Level A)
  • Not applicable
2.1.2 No Keyboard Trap. (Level A)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
2.1.3 Keyboard (No Exception). (Level AAA)
  • 7.19, paragraph 3
 
2.2.1 Timing Adjustable. (Level A)
  • 7.19, paragraph three applies, but generally this rule is design-specific. It's necessary that developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide. (Level A)
  • 7.19
2.2.3 No Timing. (Level AAA)
  • 7.19
 
2.2.4 Interruptions. (Level AAA)
  • 7.19
 
2.2.5 Re- authenticating. (Level AAA)
  • Not applicable
 
2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold. (Level A)
  • 7.1, paragraph 5
2.3.2 Three Flashes.(Level AAA)
  • 7.1, paragraph 5
 
2.4.1 Bypass Blocks. (Level A)
  • Not applicable, unless the PDF includes repetitive real content. Page content, such as running headers and footers, must conform with 7.8.
2.4.2 Page Titled. (Level A)
  • 7.1, paragraphs 8 and 9
2.4.3 Focus Order. (Level A)
  • 7.1, paragraph 2, 7.18.1; paragraph 2, 7.18.3
2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context). (Level A)
  • 7.18.5
2.4.5 Multiple Ways. (Level AA)
  • PDFs can conform with this provision in several ways, including outlines (7.17), links (7.18.5), and page labels.
2.4.6 Headings and Labels. (Level AA)
  • 7.4
2.4.7 Focus Visible. (Level AA)
  • Not applicable
2.4.8 Location. (Level AAA)
  • 7.4, 7.17
 
2.4.9 Link Purpose (Link Only). (Level AAA)
  • 7.18.5
 
2.4.10 Section Headings. (Level AAA)
  • 7.4
 
3.1.1 Language of Page. (Level A)
  • 7.2, paragraph 3.
3.1.2 Language of Parts. (Level AA)
  • 7.2, paragraph 3.
3.1.3 Unusual Words. (Level AAA)
  • Not addressed in ISO 14289. See ISO 32000-1, section 14.9.5.
 
3.1.4 Abbreviations. (Level AAA)
  • Not addressed in ISO 14289. See ISO 32000-1, section 14.9.5.
 
3.1.5 Reading Level. (Level AAA)
  • No Accessibility Support impact. This rule is design-specific. It's necessary that application or document authors consider this provision and ensure conformance.
 
3.1.6 Pronunciation. (Level AAA)
  • PDF provides several mechanisms for deploying media and other options for pronunciation assistance. Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
 
3.2.1 On Focus. (Level A)
  • 7.18, paragraph 2
3.2.2 On Input. (Level A)
  • 7.18, paragraph 2
3.2.3 Consistent Navigation. (Level AA)
  • 7.1, paragraph 1, 7.17
3.2.4 Consistent Identification. (Level AA)
  • 7.1, paragraph 1
3.2.5 Change on Request. (Level AAA)
  • 7.19, paragraph 2
 
3.3.1 Error Identification. (Level A)
  • Design-specific. It's necessary that authors and developers consider this provision and ensure conformance.
3.3.2 Labels or Instructions (Level A)  
4.1.2 Name, role, value  
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