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Images, audio, video, web pages and office documents must all conform to accessibility standards.

Accessible PDFs

 

This brief overview provides the framework for and instructions for make PDFs accessible to students with disabilities who use assistive technology such as screen readers. To better understand how students with disabilities will experience your PDF documents refer to Adobe's Using Accessible PDF Documents.

Those of us who are providing PDF documents to our student are usually first creating the documents in Microsoft Office, saving as PDFs and then uploading the documents into our Blackboard courses. The following are some tips for making the Microsoft document more accessible before converting to PDF format. 

Creating Microsoft Office Documents for Conversion to PDF:

  • Create structure by using the Styles feature to create headings and subheadings in Word 2007.
  • Add alternative text to all images. ( Creating Alt Tags )
  • Use the Columns command to create columns. Don't use tabs to simulate double-column text.
  • Use the Insert Table command to create tables.
  • Provide contrasting colors.

What if you can't make your PDF files accessible or are linking to inaccessible PDFs?


If you are linking to an inaccessible version of a PDF file -  include a link to Adobe's free online tool which converts PDF files to a format which can be used with screen reading programs: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/access_onlinetools.html

You might want to add some text explaining the process:
For example you could say, "You will need Acrobat Reader to view these PDF files. The reader is probably on your computer but if not can be downloaded from www.adobe.com . "

  For students who use a screen reader you could say: "Note for students who use screen readers: Adobe provides a free online tool which converts PDF files to a format which can be used with screen reading programs. This is available at   http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/access_onlinetools.html  "

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Useful Resources:

The Law Section 508 was enacted to elimiate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.

Wave is a free web accessibility evaluation tool. It is used to aid in the web accessibility evaluation process.

Last Modified 11/10/10