CCNY Shepard Hall

Creating Accessible PDF

Since the HTML format is all plain-text based, for accessibility purposes, it is best practice to, whenever possible, publish content as web pages.

One of the easiest ways to create an accessible pdf is to create your document using Microsoft Word, then use the Accessibility Checker to find any issues and save the final file as a pdf.

The accordions below highlight all the necessary steps needed to create an accessible pdf.

Microsoft Office Accessibility Overview

Documents contain hidden obstacles that can disrupt users with a vision or reading disability.
 

Word has a built-in Accessibility Checker to help find and fix these obstacles.


Inspection Results

  • Errors - content that can’t be read by users with certain disabilities
     
  • Warnings - Content that is less serious, but still make it difficult for people with disabilities to read
     
  • Tips - any minor issues that might cause problems, but will help optimize document’s readability for everyone

Additional Information provides instructions on how to fix any of the issues above

 

Screen readers read out all the content on a document.

 

***Scanned documents are NOT accessible***

 

 

Resource - Check document accessibility in Word

How To Find Accessibility Checker

Click on “File” and under the “Info” tab navigate to “Inspect Documents” and click on “Check Accessibility” under button saying “Check for Issues”

 

Resource - Check document accessibility in Word

 

Example of Accessibility Checker window located on the right

Example of Accessibility Checker window located on the right

 

Basic Word Formatting For Accessible Headings

Headings – Screen readers arrange headings in order – H1 headings read before H2, H2 headings read before H3, and so on.

Users who have any reading issues depend on headings to:

  • Provide clues about the content
     
  • Organize content into groups of related ideas

Resource - Improve header accessibility in Word

 

Headings

Basic Word Formatting For Accessible Images

Add Alt Text to images, diagrams, SmartArt, and tables.

  • Screen readers read Alt Text out loud.

 

Resources - Improve accessibility with alt text in Word

 

Add Alt Text to images,

Basic Word Formatting For Accessible Color Contrast

Color Contrast - Ensure text and background have a sufficiently high level of contrast.

Please use your best judgment because this will not show up in the Accessibility Checker.

 

Contrast

Column on the left is hard to read

Basic Word Formatting For Accessible Links

Links - Make hyperlinks more accessible by changing their display text to something more natural and meaningful.

  • Screen readers will read out each letter in the URL which is difficult
     
  • Avoid generic terms such as “Click Here” or “Learn More”

Resource - Create accessible links in Word

 

Avoid generic terms such as “Click Here” or “Learn More”

Basic Word Formatting For Accessible Tables

Tables - Make sure that the table has one Header Row, Add Alt Text, Fix any merged or split cells in the table. Easier for screen readers to navigate through tables.

 

Resource - Create accessible tables in Word

 

One Header Row

Creating one header row

Adding Alt text

Adding Alt text

 

Examples of Accessible Documents

Click on the links below to examine the files using the Microsoft Accessibility Checker.
 

Microsoft Word Document that is NOT Accessible 


Microsoft Word Document that is Accessible