[Accessibleweb] Accessible PDFs

Terry Thompson tft at u.washington.edu
Wed Jun 20 10:36:39 PDT 2007

Hi Gina,

I haven't seen it personally, but Microsoft has a "Save as PDF" plug-in
available for Office 2007 that reportedly does allow a Word document to be
saved as "tagged PDF", which is the type required for supporting
accessibility. Here's a link to the plug-in:

Creating tagged PDF has actually been possible for a while with Office, but
until now it required Adobe's PDFMaker plug-in. I suspect there isn't much
of a difference - Regardless of whether you produce a tagged PDF using
Microsoft's or Adobe's plug-in, you will have created a document that
*supports* accessibility, but it isn't necessarily accessible unless you
follow a couple of additional steps. The most fundamental additional steps
(prior to exporting from Word to PDF) are:

1. Be sure all informative images have alternate text. In Word, you do this
by right clicking on the image, and selecting Format Picture > Web.

2. Be sure you use Word's various levels of heading styles to explicitly
mark up heading structure throughout the document.

After you've exported, all alt text and heading structure gets passed on to
the PDF in a way that is supported by screen readers. However, it's still
possible for the document's read order to be jumbled up. So another step is
to review the read order and correct it as needed, both of which can be
accomplished using Adobe's "Touch Up Read Order" feature that's built into
Adobe Acrobat.

As you add more complex layout (multiple columns, sidebars, etc.) and
content (tables, forms, etc.) accessibility gets more complex. PDF
Accessibility is fully documented in a 115-page manual, available along with
other supporting materials at http://www.adobe.com/accessibility

Hope that helps.


Terry Thompson
Technology Specialist, DO-IT
University of Washington
tft at u.washington.edu


From: accessibleweb-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:accessibleweb-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Gina
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 11:27 AM
To: accessibleweb at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Accessibleweb] Accessible PDFs

I've heard that Office 2007greatly enhances the ability to make
PDFs more accessible. Anyone have any insight on same?

Gina Hills

Web Editor

University of Washington


ghills at u.washington.edu


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