Remediating PDFs is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Many PDFs do not need to be in PDF format and can be converted into an HTML webpage. You can also create an HTML webpage from the content but provide the PDF as a print friendly option. This way, you can keep offering the PDF while also providing an accessible option. If you decide your content best fits a PDF format exclusively, you can begin remediating PDFs to be accessible. 

Before remediating a PDF, you should determine the scope of features in order to figure out which remediation methods and tools are most appropriate. The more document features and complex layouts, the more time it may take to make the document accessible. You can use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to remediate.

Consider the following checkpoints: 

  • Check if the PDF is tagged
    • Check if the PDF is already tagged in document properties. On the top Acrobat menu, click “File” > “Properties.” The Document Properties dialog box will appear. In the bottom left corner in the Advanced box, the “Yes” or “No” next to “Tagged PDF” indicates whether or not the document is already tagged.
      1. If the PDF was exported from a digital document with the accessibility options activated when it was saved, it may already be tagged.
      2. If not, Adobe Acrobat can automatically tag your document using the “Make Accessible” tool or the “Autotag Document” tool. However, you will likely need to manually update some of the tags as well.
  • Check the Reading Order
    • If the document is tagged or was Autotagged, it is a good idea to manually look over the tags to ensure everything is correct. 
    • If you need to make changes, In the Accessibility tab on the right, click “Reading Order”. This tool allows you to manually change or assign tags.
  • Assign Alt Text for images
    • In the Accessibility tab in the right hand side, click “Set Alternate Text”.
    • You can set alt text for each image, or set them as decorative images.
  • Run Accessibility Check
    • In the Accessibility tab on the right hand side, click “Run Accessibility Check”.
    • This will run a full accessibility check and tell you what changes still need to be made.


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