Skip to Content

Ideally, almost all online text/image/media content is available right within the web page or email. 

Wherever practical, include your content in the body of a page instead of linking to a Microsoft Word or PDF file.

But sometimes we need to have users download a PDF or other file. If you do need to do so, be sure:

  • that the linked file is as accessible as it can be
  • to warn people within the link text if a link is to a download such as a PDF

Creating Accessible Documents

Adobe PDFs

The best method to make a PDF accessible is to create the document in an application that produces tagged PDFs–such as Microsoft Word–and then convert it to PDF format.

This involves the correct use of formatting such as headings within Word do that the software knows what types of content the various pieces of text are. And just like in web pages, you should provide alt text for images, and utilize lists.

  • Start with the creation of accessible MS Word/PowerPoint documents
  • Styles applied in MS Word can automatically create PDF Bookmarks
  • Use the “Adobe PDF” option from the menu bar of MS Word
  • Need to be using MS Word 2000 or later AND Adobe Acrobat 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9
  • Another option is the Microsoft Save as PDF plug-in in Office 2007

Microsoft Word

  • Use the styles and formatting options to specify headings
  • Avoid using tables or text boxes to control layout and positioning of Word documents
  • Include text descriptions when adding content-rich images
  • Specify column headers for data tables

Microsoft Powerpoint

  • Use the PowerPoint templates to improve structure and accessibility by default.
  • Add text descriptions to images.
  • Avoid using the Save as Web page option as the only delivery method. You can save as PDF using Microsoft Save as PDF plug-in or within Adobe Acrobat.
  • If recording PowerPoint as a video, you need to develop a captioned version.