PDF Accessibility Solutions

Woman working on laptop computer with PDF symbol in background.
Web illustration by Storyset (https://storyset.com/web)
Portable Document Files (PDFs) have been around since the early 90s.  They were initially created as a way to move document files from one platform to another without losing any of the formatting.  For that reason, PDFs are hard to edit and make changes to, by design!

As the world changed and technology became a bigger part of everyone's lives, PDF has become an even more popular format for sharing files.  However, as awareness of web accessibility continues to expand, faculty have had to learn how to create accessible documents using other platforms (such as Microsoft Office products), but how to make those old PDFs accessible has remained a bit of a mystery.  

While the Digital Learning Innovations office recommends using other types of documents (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) before PDF when possible, we recognize that sometimes using PDFs is necessary. For this reason, we've put together the following resources to help you make your PDFs as accessible as you can. 

Click the cards below to find brief video resources demonstrating how to check for accessibility and fix errors in an accessibility check. Each step builds on the last, so going all the way through is a fairly robust start on PDF accessibility training. Alternately, you can pick and choose which items to view in the order that you want as needed.

You can also download the same sample document used in each video to practice making the changes yourself. We recommend watching each video, then downloading the PDF document and practicing as you watch the video again.  

Before you start, though, make sure you've got Adobe Acrobat Pro DC installed on your computer.  UITS provides this resource for KSU Faculty.

Keep in mind, this is a basic introduction to PDF accessibility.  We will continue to add to it; but if you'd like more in-depth training, AWA recommends the Creating Accessible PDFs module on LinkedIn Learning as a great next step!

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