PDF accessibility in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC can be complex and there are many steps, tips, and elements that may not apply to every document. However, setting the document properties is required for each document. Setting the document properties for a PDF document in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a key part of meeting WCAG and PDF/UA standards for document accessibility. As navigating Acrobat Pro becomes more familiar, this process will become simple and easy to implement on any document.
In order to comply with WCAG 2.0 Level AA success criteria while remediating or creating documents in Adobe Acrobat Pro, there are a few document properties that need to be in set for the document to be usable and comply with the accessibility standards for assistive technology.
These properties help make the document perceivable to screen reader users and will allow them to access important information when the document is opened and must be set for every document.
This property will enable a screen reader to identify a document when a unique and meaningful title is set.
- With the document open, go to the File menu in the top left corner. Select Properties from the menu.
- In the Document Properties window, there is a tab selection at the top of the menu. In the Description tab, fill in the Title field with the title of the document, this should be different from the file name. This will allow the screen reader to identify the document with something more meaningful than the file name.
This property will display the title of the document at the top of the page and the screen reader will announce the title.
- In the same Document Properties menu, click on the Initial View
- In the Window Options section, select Document Title in the drop-down menu next to Show.
This property ensures that the screen reader can identify and pronounce words correctly.
- Click on the Advanced tab now.
- In the Reading Options you can select the language for the document from a drop-down menu of languages.
- In order to save the properties, click Ok and save an updated version of the document.
Setting the Tab Order
The tab order allows a screen reader user to access the content in a logical reading order. Therefore, you need to set this order for Acrobat Pro DC to convey the intended order.
- Navigate to the Page Thumbnails navigation pane. Here you will see each page in the document.
- Select all pages by clicking on the first thumbnail and pressing ‘Ctrl+A’ or selecting the first page, holding down the ‘Shift’ key and selecting the last page.
- With all pages selected, open up the options menu, select the Page Properties
- Under Tab Order select Use Document Structure and press Ok
- Save an updated version of your document.
Tagged PDF Property
In order for a screen reader to read a document based on the set tag structure, otherwise known as the reading order, a property must be set in the Options menu in the tags pane.
Ensure that the Document is Tagged PDF setting is checked, if it is not, simply click it and a check mark will pop up on the left-hand side.
The document properties must be set to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA criteria. Setting these will allow the reader to access and perceive the content on a higher level. These are all properties required to be set to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA Standards, outlined on the W3C website. These properties will aid users navigating a document using assistive technology.
Despite being one of the more prolific digital formats, many PDF creators are unaware on ways to determine whether the PDFs they create are accessible. Taking steps early in the creation process, like ensuring accurate document properties are set, is a good place for content teams to get started.
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