ACCESSIBLE PDFs: When Bookmarks Are Required

Five PDF icons in a row

If you have a PDF document that has 21 or more pages, you need to include bookmarks that parallel the accessible document structure. This allows folks who use assistive technology an easier way to navigate a PDF document.

NOTE: Bookmarks are best added after the document structure tags are finalized.

How to add bookmarks based on a document’s structure via Adobe Acrobat Pro DC:

1. Select Bookmarks icon on the Accessibility Checker panel
2. Select the Options icon
3. Select New Bookmarks from Structure

Adobe Acrobat Bookmark Menu
4. In the Structure Elements dialog box, select the element(s) that you want to use as bookmarks.

5. Click OK.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE PDFs: How to Embed Missing Fonts

Five PDF icons in a row

I have written about the importance of adding a PDF/UA identifier to your PDF files to help with accessibility.

The PDF/UA flag in the document informs screen readers and AT software that the PDF’s structure elements are logically ordered and semantically correct. This enables the AT apps on different devices (desktop, mobile, tablets) to process correctly-tagged PDF content consistently for a multitude of users.

Let’s talk about why you should embed missing fonts

Embedding missing fonts ensures reliable presentation of the PDF document’s text because the AT viewer is not forced to substitute fonts that may not match the usage specified in the document.

Fonts that are embedded can also help speed up the editing process. Let’s say you discover a typo and need to fix it via Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. You should be able to fix the text in the document using the original font.

How to embed missing fonts

1. Open the PDF document in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.
2. Go to Print Production > Preflight.
3. Make sure the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2015 Profiles is selected.
4. Select PDF fixups.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC screen shot how to embed fonts
5. Select Embed missing fonts.
6. Press the Analyze & Fix button.
7. Save and replace the file.
8. Test in PAC 3.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE PDFs: How to Prevent Security Settings from Interfering with Screen Readers

Five PDF icons in a row

When creating a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, a document author can specify that no part of an accessible PDF is to be copied, printed, extracted, commented on, or edited.

Problem is this security setting can interfere with a screen reader’s ability to read the document, because screen readers must be able to copy or extract the document’s text to convert it to speech.

How to fix accessibility permissions manually

1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro
2. Choose File > Properties > Security.
3. Choose No Security from the Security Method drop-down list.
4. Click OK and close the Document Properties dialog box.

Is your screen reader a Trusted Agent?

From Adobe: “If your assistive technology product is registered with Adobe as a Trusted Agent, you can read PDFs that might be inaccessible to another assistive technology product. Acrobat recognizes when a screen reader or other product is a Trusted Agent and overrides security settings that would typically limit access to the content for accessibility purposes. However, the security settings remain in effect for all other purposes, such as to prevent printing, copying, extracting, commenting, or editing text.”

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE PDFs: How to Add a PDF/UA Identifier

Four Adobe PDF Icons in a row

Is your PDF document really technically accessible? Have you checked to see if the PDF/UA identifier has been set? This enables reader applications and assistive technologies to fully process PDF/UA conforming files to maximize accessibility.

By adding the PDF/UA identifier, you are claiming that the PDF document conforms to the structure elements as stated in ISO 14289, the informal name for the International Standard for accessible PDF technology.

NOTE: If PDFs were created in Microsoft Word 2013 for Windows or in any version of Adobe InDesign, you definitely need to add the PDF/UA identifier.

How can you tell if the PDF/UA identifier has been set in a PDF?

Download PAC 3, one of the most comprehensive free testing tools that checks PDF documents for compatibility with the PDF/UA standard. Distributed by the Swiss organization Access for all and only available for Windows, PAC 3 evaluates the failure conditions that should be tested by other software apps. It also includes a screen reader preview tool to check the failure conditions which need to be tested manually.

How to test a PDF for its PDF/UA identifier with PAC 3

1. Download and launch PAC 3.
2. Click the Upload button to select the PDF you want to test.

PAC 3 Upload Button

3. In the Summary Report, if you see a red X to the left of Metadata, this means the PDF/UA identifier is missing.

PAC 3 Metadata Line in Summary Report
4. Click the Results in Detail button

PAC 3 Results in Detail Button

5. On the Report screen, click the arrow to the left of Metadata and Settings, then the arrow to the left of Metadata, then the arrow to the left of PDF/UA Identifier.

PAC 3 Report Detail PDF UA Identifier Missing

If you see a red X to the left of the option PDF/UA identifier missing, this means the PDF/UA identifier needs to be added to the document. You can fix this using Adobe Acrobat DC.

How to add the PDF/UA identifier using Adobe Acrobat DC

1. Open the PDF document in Adobe Acrobat DC.
2. Select More Tools > Print Production > Preflight
3. In the Preflight dialog, be sure PDF Standards is selected from the dropdown.
4. Activate the wrench icon above the list of Preflight checks. This should open the Document info and Metadata settings.

Adobe Acrobat Pro Preflight Wrench icon
5. Select the Set PDF/UA-1 entry option, then click the Fix button.

Adobe Acrobat Preflight Set PDF-UA-1
6. In the next dialog box, you will need to re-save your file with a different name.

Save the PDF file as a different name to set the PDF/UA identifier

To check to see if the PDF has been updated with the PDF/UA identifier, return to the PAC 3 app.

1. Go back to the PAC 3 app.
2. Click the Upload button to select the revised PDF you want to test.
3. In the Summary Report, if you see a friendly green check mark to the left of Metadata, this mean the PDF/UA identifier is now part of the PDF document.

PAC 3 Summary Report Successful Update of PDF/UA identifier

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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PDFs: The Importance of Figure and Image ALT Tags

To be accessible to screen readers, figures and images in PDF documents should not have blank ALT text, except for decorative images which should be marked as artifacts.

Each image should have an ALT attribute describing the picture, which screen readers can read aloud.

EXAMPLE:

Still life with colorful tulips

ALT=”Still life photo of colorful tulips in a glass vase”

ADDITIONAL NOTE: When an image contains words that are important to understanding the content, the text alternative should include those words. This will allow the alternative to accurately represent the image.

Read more about PDF Techniques for WCAG: Text Alternatives.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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