Overview: Accessible PDFs

In Ontario, the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) mandates that accessible formats of information must be provided upon request. There may be times in your role on campus when a request is made for an accessible format of materials that you or your department may have created “in-house.” This request may come from students, faculty, staff, volunteers or visitors. This tip sheet outlines some basic guidelines that will help you to create an accessible PDF document.

Step 1: Create an Accessible Microsoft Word Document

Much of the work required to create an accessible PDF happens in the creation of the document itself, not in the conversion to PDF.

Step 2: Configure the PDFMaker

Once you have prepared your Microsoft Word document with accessibility in mind, you are ready to convert it to a PDF. You must use the Acrobat PDFMaker tool within Word to create a tagged PDF.

  1. In the top toolbar, click the “Acrobat” tab.
  2. Select “Create PDF.”
  3. In the “Save” box, select the “Options” button. Select the “Enable Accessibility” and “Reflow with Tagged Adobe PDF” options.
  4. Name the file as desired, select a destination folder, and click “Save.”

Do not create your documents using the “Print” to PDF method, as this creates an untagged (inaccessible) PDF.

Step 3: Check and Fix Accessibility in Acrobat

If you have followed all of the above guidelines for creating your Word document, the resulting PDF has a basic level of accessibility. However, it still may not be fully accessible to all screen readers, and you may need to provide additional information using Adobe Acrobat software.

For information about creating accessible PDFs using Acrobat software, visit www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/acrobat/pdf/A9-accessible-pdf-from-word.pdf