Make an existing PDF file accessible

If you don't have access to the source file, and the PDF is linked from your Canvas course, see Improve the accessibility of PDF documents in Canvas for another method.

Using Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can take the following steps to improve the accessibility of an existing document:

  • If the text in your PDF is an image and not selectable text, convert it to text. Select Tools > Text Recognition > In This File. This is the most important step in making your document readable by assistive technology.
  • Add tags to indicate heading structure. Select Tools > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document. This is important for navigating long and complex documents, such as textbooks.
  • Add alternate text to images. Users who cannot see images must rely on you, the author, to provide alternate text (or alt text) to describe the content of an image. This alt text should be succinct, convey the important information, and not overburden the reader. You can add alt text to each image in a PDF that has already undergone zone recognition. To do so:
    1. Go to the Tools tab.
    2. Under "Protect & Standardize", select the Accessibility Tool.
    3. If necessary, select Add, and then Open.
    4. In the "Accessibility" menu that opens (usually on the right), select Set Alternative Text.
    5. Proceed through the "Set Alternate Text" dialog. For each image, either provide alt text or mark the image as decorative.

    For more, see Add alternate text and supplementary information to tags.

  • Set reading order. Select Tools > Accessibility > Touch Up Reading Order. Reading order is important, as it is the order in which a screen reader will read the content to the user.
  • Set language. Select File > Properties > Advanced > Reading Options. This setting helps screen readers switch to the correct language.

Also, see:

This is document bfua in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-10-05 11:39:16.