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Accessible PDFs

Note: Create actual web pages or online forms instead of PDFs.
If you need assistance, please contact websitefeedback@fordham.edu.

PDFs are a major web accessibility issue. If your content must be in PDF format, it must be fully accessible. To ensure that your PDF meets accessibility requirements, you will need to use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to check. You can submit a request to IT for access.

Learn about the importance of having accessible PDFs and how screen readers view them. Watch Normandale Community College's video on web accessibility.


Making Your PDF Accessible

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Action Wizard for Accessibility

  • Select "Tools > Action Wizard"
  • Select "Make Accessible"
  • Select "Start" and follow the prompts.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Manual Check for Accessibility Issues

  • Select "Tools > Accessibility"
  • Select "Full Check" in the new sidebar
  • Select the issues that you would like to have checked
  • Select "Start Checking"
  • Right click on issues to either "Fix", "Explain Rule", or "Check Again"

Microsoft Office

If you are creating a document using MS Office (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), you can use the built-in accessibility checker to resolve some of the most common issues before exporting as a PDF.

Below are some best practices before saving as a PDF:

  • Making sure there are no comments or all track changes are accepted and turned off.
  • Make sure the document properties has the language set of the document.
  • View your Word document in "Print Preview" before saving to PDF, this should be a good indicator on how it will "Print to PDF".

Helpful tips on making Accessible PDFs from MS Word:

Lynda.com

Lynda.com (online educational site) provides access to free courses, tutorials, and workshops with a NY Public Library card. There are great resources on InDesign and Adobe Acrobat Pro to help create accessible PDFs. Connect to the Lynda.com database.

SensusAccess

  • Go to http://sensusaccess.com/convert-a-file
  • Select "File" as the source
  • Upload your document
  • Select "Accessibility Conversion" as the output
  • Select "pdf - Tagged PDF" (if source is not a PDF) or "pdf - Tagged PDF (text over images)" (if source is a PDF)
  • Provide your email address and submit
  • You will later receive an email with a partially accessible version of your file as a PDF, and you will still need to resolve the remaining accessible issues; the time it takes to receive the email may vary depending on the volume the site receives

You can use SiteImprove to locate existing PDFs that have accessibility issues. SiteImprove is also able to send out weekly accessibility reports to help you locate other errors. If you would like to receive the accessibility reports or have access to SiteImprove, please contact us at websitefeedback@fordham.edu.