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Accessible PDF Documents

PDF documents are widely used due to their compatibility across multiple platforms. When creating an accessible PDF, it works best to start with an accessible document (such as a Word document) and then convert to PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro. We recommend that you take a training course before attempting to perform any conversions to PDF. Ideally, within your organization, establish a workflow to funnel PDF conversions and testing through trained staff.

Tips for Making PDF Documents Accessible

Use the Accessibility Checker

Acrobat Pro’s built-in tool will tell you about possible issues in your document and give suggestions on how to correct them.

Convert Scanned Text

Documents should not contain scanned text. If it does, recreate the PDF file using the source document or convert it to include true text.

Use Color Carefully

Use good color contrast, such as 4.5:1 ratio of text to background, to ensure readability. Use texture in graphs to highlight points of interest.

Check the Reading Order

“Walk the tag tree.” Review the order of the tags in the Tags Pane to ensure the correct reading order.

Find these tips and more when you download the Accessibility Quick Card for PDF Documents or download the complete set for more important tips.

PDF Quick Card (PDF) Complete Quick Card Set (PDF)

More Resources

There is a statewide contract to provide Adobe Acrobat Pro to State of Minnesota employees who create PDFs. To ensure that you have access to the most current version check with your agency's Adobe Coordinator.

What to Learn Next

InDesign

Learn how to design your documents with accessibility in mind using Adobe InDesign.

PowerPoint

Learn how to make your presentations accessible with Microsoft PowerPoint.

Excel

Learn how to make your spreadsheets and charts accessible in Microsoft Excel.

Word

Learn how to use the features in Microsoft Word to create accessible documents.

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