Creating Accessible PDF Documents in Acrobat XI

There are a number of tools within Adobe Acrobat Pro XI that you can use to enhance the accessibility of a PDF. In this video I’ll focus on the
two most important tools, the Make Accessible Wizard and the TouchUp Reading Order Tool.
Now these two tools will not solve all your accessibility issues, but they should help
you address the most common issues. Please note that while you can create accessible PDF files within Acrobat, the interface itself is not very accessible. You do have to be
able to see the screen and use a mouse to use the tools described in this video. When I am editing the accessibility of a PDF,
the first tool I usually open is the Make Accessible Wizard. To access the Wizard, select “Tools” from the upper-right part of the screen and the “Tools” sidebar should
appear. Under the “Action Wizard” panel, select “Make Accessible” and then Start.
This will run you through a number of steps. First, you’ll add a title to your document.
Every PDF should have a descriptive title, so I’m going to deselect the “Leave As
Is” checkbox and give this a succinct title. The rest of the fields can be left alone,
so just select OK to move on. Next Acrobat will try to recognize the text
in a scanned PDF. This is not a scanned PDF, but I always hit OK anyway. It will next ask if this is a form. If it
is, select. “Yes, Detect Form Fields”. If not, select “No, Skip this Step” Next, select the language, in this case it
is English. The next step is “Add tags to document.”
PDF ‘tags’ provide accessibility information to screen readers. This PDF file already has
tags, so Acrobat will skip this step, but if your document does not have tags you will
be prompted to add them. Now Acrobat is going to detect any figures
or images within the document.You will notice that this Adobe logo is highlighted and there
is a box where I can enter alternative text. I’m going to give this image alternate text of “Adobe”. If there are multiple images on the page, I can use the previous and next arrows to
go through every image. I just have the one image, so I am going to select “Save and
Close”. The last step is the Accessibility Checker.
I’ll select “Start Checking”. After the checker is complete, you’ll see the “Accessibility Checker” panel open on the left hand side. This will identify issues that need to be
checked manually like contrast, or issues that you still need to address such as missing table headers. Ok. The wizard is complete, so I’m going to
select “Close” in the upper right corner and then I’m done. The second tool I want to show you is the
TouchUp Reading Order Tool. It can be found in the “Accessibility” section within the
same “Tools” sidebar. If you don’t see Accessibility in this sidebar, select
the “Show or Hide Panels” option in the top right corner of the sidebar, and make
sure “Accessibility” is selected from the list. Within the accessibility menu, select
“TouchUp Reading Order” and The TouchUp Reading Order Tool window will appear. Gray boxes will also appear that outline the
tag structure of the page. You’ll notice small white squares at the start of each box
that currently display the reading order of the page. I usually like to make sure the
tag structure of the page is correct first and then fix the reading order, so I am going
to select the “Structure types” radio button. These white boxes should now display the PDF “tag” information. For example, “H1” is a Heading 1 and “p” is for
paragraph or body text. If you see text that doesn’t have a gray
box around it, that’s because it is not tagged. You can address this by dragging a
box around the text (and I’ve found you want to make the box a bit bigger than the
text you’re trying to select). Then select the correct tag from the TouchUp Reading Order window (in this case, Heading 2). Then I want to go through the page and just
make sure everything is tagged correctly. This H3 right here should probably be a Heading 2. I want to make sure this table has the correct
accessibility information so I’ll select the table by clicking on the little white
square next to the it and selecting “Table Editor” within the TouchUp Reading Order
tool. Red lines within the table indicate different table cells and the gray boxes
indicates that these are data cells. Some of these cells should be table headers, so
to fix this I’m going to draw a little box over these three top cells. I need to be careful
to draw the box inside these red cell lines. Then I’ll right click and select “Table Cell Properties”. The Table Cell Properties box will appear
and I want to select Header Cell instead of Data Cell. Next I will give these a scope,
in this case “Column” because these are column headers. (You can also select Scope:
Row to create row headers if necessary). Hit Ok, now you’ll notice these three cells now
have a red background, indicating they are headers. Click anywhere else on the page and the TouchUp Reading Order Tool reappears. Next, you’ll notice this footer text. Often
you will want to hide text like this from a screen reader, especially after the first
page of a multi-page PDF. To do this, select the text and then select “Background”
in the “TouchUp Reading Order” window. You can use “Background” to hide any decorative images or text that you think should be ignored by a screen reader. You can also use the “TouchUp Reading Order Tool” to check and change your reading order. To do so, select the “Page Content Order”
radio button, and now the little white boxes display numbers which indicate the reading
order of the page. So let’s check this reading order. 1, 2, 4,
3. So 3 and 4 are out of order. Now I can fix this by selecting the “Show
Order Panel” option in the tool. Within this panel, I can use my mouse to select this
number four and drag it between two and three. 1,2,3,4. Looks like the reading order is now
correct. This video is meant to be used in companionship with the GOALS cheatsheets, which are non-technical one-page resources. To view these cheatsheets
or for more information about the GOALS project, visit

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