Create an Accessible PDF with Microsoft Word

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Create an accessible PDF

The best way to create an accessible PDF is to start with an accessible Word document. An accessible Word document includes:

In addition, consider the necessity of each element you include in the document. For example, are images and callouts aiding the end user? If purely decorative, they may actually hinder the accessibility of the document.

Preserve the accessibility of your Word document when you export to PDF by choosing File -> Save As -PDF.
NOTE: Do not print to PDF, as this method will not preserve the accessibility of the document. 

Word 2010 and Word 2013 (Windows)

When saving to PDF, select Options. Check the box for Document structure tags for accessibility.

Word 2016 (Mac)

When saving to PDF, check the box for Best for electronic distribution and accessibility.


Fix an inaccessible PDF

To modify and remediate a PDF document, you will need to have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is available to all UMD Faculty and Staff at TERPware. For more information, see PDF Accessibility.

Run the accessibility checker

Select Tools -> Accessibility -> Full Check, then read the report and follow the prompts. For items that have Failed, right click on the item and click Fix.

The following areas commonly fail the accessibility checker.


Additional resources for making accessible PDFs