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Making an existing PDF accessible

The following Adobe guide provides detailed instructions on how to make an existing PDF accessible.

Your first approach should be to make the source document accessible and then create a PDF again.

If you can't access the source document used to create the PDF, then follow these steps.

You'll need Adobe Acrobat Pro or DC (not Acrobat Reader) to make changes to an existing PDF.

Allow 1.5 to 2 hours.

Make sure you action all steps in this guide.

Mandatory steps to take

  1. Use the Action Wizard to make the PDF accessible
  2. Check accessibility of PDFs
  3. Manually fix accessibility issues

For instructions and an online demonstration, see the Creating Accessible PDF Documents in Acrobat XI video.

Accessibility issues to check

Document

  • Image only PDF
  • Tagged PDF
  • Logical reading order
  • Document language
  • Title
  • Bookmarks
  • Colour contrast

Page content

  • Tagged content
  • Tagged annotations
  • Tab order
  • Character encoding
  • Tagged multimedia
  • Screen flicker
  • Scripts
  • Timed responses
  • Accessible links

Forms

  • Tagged form fields
  • Field descriptions
  • Alternate text
  • Figures alternate text
  • Nested alternate text
  • Associated with content
  • Hides annotation
  • Other elements alternate text

Tables

  • Rows
  • TH and TD
  • Headers
  • Regularity
  • Summary

Lists

  • List items
  • Lbl and LBody

Headings

  • Appropriate nesting

Reviewed 16 January 2020

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