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Moodle: Accessible PDFs

Are PDFs Accessible?

Adobe's PDF files are common way to share information with students in a format that doesn't change depending on the browser. Not all PDFs are accessible  since there are three types of PDF documents—unstructured, structured, and tagged—only tagged PDF files are optimized for accessibility. Few authors are currently creating tagged PDF files, either because this requires additional effort or because of lack of awareness. Authors are also limited by the capabilities of their word processing or desktop publishing tools, many of which have PDF export capabilities that do not currently support tagged PDF format

Using Word to Create Tagged/Accessible PDF Documents

CAUTION : Although the information listed below suggests how to make your materials accessible, before making any PDF document available to the public, it should always be tested thoroughly for accessibility using the Adobe Acrobat Professional OR actually testing the document with a screen reader like JAWS. Not only will the Acrobat Professional accessibility application test the page, it will provide detailed instructions on how to remedy any errors that are reported.

Creating accessible PDFs from Word if have Adobe Acrobat software

These guides describes how to use Acrobat’s PDFMaker with Microsoft Word to make accessible PDF files. Some of the techniques apply to the Microsoft Office productivity suite as well, such as the PowerPoint presentation graphics program.

Saving Office 2007/2010 files as accessible PDFs

If your versions of Office 2003 does not have the correct add-on, go to Microsoft's free Save as PDF or XPS Add-in for 2007 Microsoft Office programs download page and follow the instructions provided. Office 2010 includes the PDF/XPS option by default.

  1. From the open document, click Save As, and then select PDF or XPS. The Publish as PDF or XPS dialog box will appear with PDF selected as the Save as type.
  2. Edit the file name in File name box, if necessary.
  3. Click the Options button. The Options dialog box will appear.

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  4. In the Include non-printing information section,
    1. If the Create bookmarks using option is NOT disabled (grayed out), place a check in it. Make sure the Headings option is selected.
    2. b. Make sure the Document properties and Document structure tags for accessibility options are checked.
  5. Click OK to close the Options dialog box.
  6. Click Publish to save the file as a PDF