Three steps to more accessible PDFs

Adobe Acrobat isn't very friendly for visually-impaired site accessibility.
1) Using the MakeAccessible plug-in
  1. Open the PDF file in Acrobat.
  2. Choose Document > Make Accessible.
  3. Use the Accessibility Checker as described in "Using the Accessibility Checker".
  4. Use the Tags palette as described in "Using the Tags Palette" to check the structure of the document.
  5. Choose File > Save As.
  6. Name and save the file.
Note: Using Save As, rather than Save is highly recommended because the MakeAccessible plug-in makes changes to the internal structure of the document which cannot be reversed.

2) Using the Accessibility Checker
To verify the files and fix them if necessary:
  1. Open the tagged Adobe PDF file in Acrobat.
  2. Choose Tools > Accessibility Checker.
  3. Select the options as shown in the dialog box below and click OK.
If the Accessibility Checker finds any potential problems, it will display a dialog box explaining what they are and will put comments into the Tags palette to indicate what parts of the document may have problems. This will make it easier to find and fix the problems. Most potential problems can by fixed by using the Tags palette in Acrobat to add or modify the structure of the tagged Adobe PDF file.

3) Using the Tags Palette
Tags define the structure and reading order of a tagged Adobe PDF file. The Tags palette lets you look at these tags-in other words, the underlying structure of the document-and modify them. The following instructions describe how to display the Tags palette in Acrobat and typical items you might want to fix in the structure of a tagged Adobe PDF file using the palette.

Note: This section assumes you are opening a tagged Adobe PDF file. If you open a standard PDF file, the Tags palette will indicate the file has no tags.

To access the Tags palette:
  1. Choose Window > Tags to display the Tags palette.
  2. Drag the Tags palette into the navigation pane where the other palettes are located and select it.
To add missing alternate text:
  1. Find and select the element that is missing the alternate text, such as an image, in the Tags palette.
Note: Selecting Turn On Associated Content Highlighting from the Tags palette menu can help you find elements. With this option selected, any item you select in the Tags palette is highlighted in the body of the document.
  1. Right-click the mouse and choose Element Properties.
  2. Enter the alternate text in the Alternate Text field, and click OK.
To specify the text language of the document:

  1. In the Tags palette, find and select the element or subtree that does not have a text language defined for it. It is best to tag this as high in the document structure tree as possible, to specify the text language for all the elements contained within the element or subtree.
  2. Right-click the mouse and choose Element Properties.
  3. Choose a language from the Language menu in the dialog box. * U.S. English: EN-US
  4. Click OK.

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