Accessible PDFs

Accessible PDFs (Portable Document Format) are often referred as tagged PDFs. Similar accessibility rules applies for PDFs as HTML documents:

  • headings structure.
  • appropriate link texts.
  • color contrast.
  • alternative text for images.

Tagged PDF Tagged PDF

PDF tags are the semantic content marks and indicate the logical document structure and reading order. Compared to HTML tags, PDF tags look similar, but are not the same.

In the source document (e.g. Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign) you are able to affect the future tag structure. In the paragraph styles it is possible to set the heading level and the tags until will be created. The general content will be inside <p> tags. It also important to format your lists and tables correctly to get good results while exporting your PDF.

Paciello Group have good overview of PDF inaccessibility.

Top ↑

Export as accessible PDF Export as accessible PDF

The list of software which are able to export a PDF is quite long. In the export settings of your software, you should watch for an option which is called Tagged PDF or similar.

Here are couple of resources how to create accessible PDF.

  1. WebAIM describes how to export to PDF in Word, Open Office and Acrobat.
  2. How to create accessible PDF by 3PlayMedia.

Note: Google Docs doesn’t yet support the export of a tagged and accessible PDF yet without any help of a plugin.

Top ↑

Resources Resources