Making PDF Accessible with Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro
Creating Accessible PDF Files Using
Authoring Applications
In many cases, you can create tagged PDFs from within an authoring application, such as Adobe
FrameMaker®, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveCycle Designer. This functionality extends to applications that
are not from Adobe Systems, such as Microsoft® Office and Writer. Creating tags in the
authoring application generally provides better results than adding tags in Acrobat.
In Windows, Acrobat installs both an Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar and an Adobe PDF menu in many
popular authoring applications. PDFMaker provides conversion settings that let you create tagged PDFs in
Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word among others.
You can use either the toolbar buttons or the Adobe PDF menu (the Action menu in Lotus Notes) to create
PDFs, but the menu also provides access to conversion settings. Although many of the conversion options
are common to all authoring applications, a few are application-specific.
Note: For Microsoft Office 2007 applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, the
options for creating PDFs are available from the Acrobat Ribbon.
In general, the following rules apply.
• Design your source document with accessibility in mind
• Do NOT use character formatting for headings, use the program’s styles.
• Do add alternative text to graphics in the source file
• Do use a table editor if available to create tables
• Do NOT use a table editor to design layouts
• Do generate the PDF file in a way that generates tags
• Do set your PDF output preferences option to tagged PDF
• Do check the results in Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro using Advanced > Accessibility > Full Check
(shortcut: Alt + A + A + F)
• Do follow the suggestions for repair and repeat checking until no errors are detected
Create an Accessible Microsoft Word Document
You should author the original source document with accessibility in mind. This means you should add
structure to the document by using styles rather than character formats for such items as headings and lists.
You should also add alternate text descriptions to graphics that appear in the Word file using the format
picture dialog. You should use Word’s column command and not tables to create multi-column documents.
Use Styles
Design your documents with styles. Styles add the structure necessary to make your documents usable to
people with disabilities.
The default text style for Microsoft Word is Normal.
• Text should be at least 12 point type.
• Avoid using Microsoft Word text boxes.