Adobe Acrobat X Pro Accessibility Guide: PDF Accessibility Overview

Adobe Acrobat X Pro Accessibility Guide: PDF Accessibility Overview
Adobe Acrobat X Accessibility PDF Accessibility Overview
Contents
1
Each PDF File is Different
1
Two Workflows for Creating
Accessible PDF Files
2
Characteristics of Accessible
PDF files
2
Searchable text
2
Fonts that allow characters
to be extracted to text
2
Interactive form fields
2
Other Interactive Features:
Buttons, hyperlinks, and
navigational aids
3
Document language
3
Security that will not
interfere with assistive
technology
3
Document structure tags and
proper read order
3
Alternative text descriptions
3
Adobe Acrobat and Adobe
Reader Accessibility
Features
3
Features for Accessible
Reading of PDFs
4
Features for Creating
Accessible PDFs
5
The Acrobat X Pro
Accessibility Guide Series
5
PDF Accessibility Overview
(this document)
5
Creating Accessible PDF
Documents from Microsoft®
Word
5
Acrobat X Pro PDF
Accessibility Repair
Workflow
6
Using the Accessibility
Checker in Acrobat X Pro
6
Creating Accessible PDF
Forms with Acrobat X Pro
6
Acrobat X Pro Complete Best
Practices for Accessibility
PDF Accessibility Overview
Combine PDF file format features with the functionality found in Adobe®
Acrobat® and Adobe Reader® to provide access to documents all can use
A document or application is accessible if it can be used by people with disabilities—such as
mobility impairments, blindness, and low vision—and not just by people who can see well
and use a mouse. Accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Portable
Document Format (PDF) make it easier for people with disabilities to use PDF documents and
forms, with or without the aid of assistive software and devices such as screen readers, screen
magnifiers, and braille printers.
Making PDFs accessible tends to benefit all users. For example, the underlying document
structure that makes it possible for a screen reader to properly read a PDF out loud also makes
it possible for a mobile device to correctly reflow and display the document on a small screen.
Similarly, the preset tab order of an accessible PDF form helps all users—not just users with
mobility impairments—fill the form more easily.
Each PDF File is Different
Not all PDFs are the same. PDF files are created in a variety of ways, from a variety of
applications, and for a variety of purposes. In addition to applying the proper accessibility
enhancements to PDF documents, achieving your accessibility goals for an individual PDF file
requires understanding the nature of the PDF and the uses for which it is intended.
Using the guide Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: PDF Accessibility Repair Workflow,
you will learn how to assess existing PDF files for certain characteristics which influence their
accessibility. The order in which this assessment is conducted is important. By following these
procedures in the recommended order, users can efficiently proceed through the analysis of a
PDF file in a systematic fashion. Systematically ruling out or confirming certain characteristics
which a PDF file may possess will guide you to the most appropriate next step for making an
individual PDF accessible.
This series also discusses techniques for converting source files to accessible PDF. Using the
Adobe PDFMaker with Microsoft Word as an example, this guide provides best practices for
designing your source document with accessibility in mind so that the original document can
be efficiently transformed into an accessible PDF version. Refer to the guide entitled Adobe®
Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: Creating Accessible PDF from Microsoft® Word for complete
information.
Note: These Best Practices techniques assume the user has access to Adobe Acrobat Pro X
or Adobe Acrobat X Pro Extended for Windows. Adobe Reader X and Adobe Acrobat
X Standard do not have the complete set of tools needed to create and validate PDF
documents for accessibility.
Two Workflows for Creating Accessible PDF Files
The PDF format is a destination file format. PDF files are typically created in some other
application. What this means is that the author who is concerned with PDF accessibility will be
confronted with one of two situations:
•
Individuals working with an existing PDF file will want to know how to
edit/update it to be an accessible PDF file.
•
Authors will want to know how to use some other software application,
such as a word processing or desktop publishing application, to generate
an accessible PDF file from that application if possible.
Characteristics of Accessible PDF files
The Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) is the native file format of the Adobe® Acrobat®
family of products. The goal of these products is to enable users to exchange and view electronic
documents easily and reliably, independently of the environment in which they were created.
PDF relies on the same imaging model as the PostScript® page description language to describe
text and graphics in a device-independent and resolution-independent manner. To improve
performance for interactive viewing, PDF defines a more structured format than that used
by most PostScript language programs. PDF also includes objects, such as annotations and
hypertext links, that are not part of the page itself but are useful for interactive viewing and
document interchange.
Accessible PDFs have the following characteristics:
Searchable text
A document that consists of scanned images of text is inherently inaccessible because the
content of the document is a graphic representing the letters on the page, not searchable text.
Assistive software cannot read or extract the words in a graphic representation, users cannot
select or edit the text, and you cannot manipulate the PDF for accessibility. You must convert the
scanned images of text to searchable text using optical character recognition (OCR) before you
can use other accessibility features with the document.
Fonts that allow characters to be extracted to text
The fonts in an accessible PDF must contain enough information for Acrobat to correctly extract
all of the characters to text for purposes other than displaying text on the screen. Acrobat
extracts characters to Unicode text when you read a PDF with a screen reader or the Read Out
Loud tool, or when you save as text for a braille printer. This extraction fails if Acrobat cannot
determine how to map the font to Unicode characters.
Interactive form fields
Some PDFs contain forms that a person is to fill out using a computer. To be accessible, form
fields must be interactive—meaning that a user must be able to enter values into the form fields.
Interactive PDF forms also have a defined tab order allowing users of assistive technology to use
the tab key in order to progress from one form field or interactive control in a logical manner.
Refer to the document Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: Creating Accessible Forms for
complete details.
Other Interactive Features: Buttons, hyperlinks, and navigational aids
Navigational aids in a PDF—such as links, bookmarks, headings, a table of contents, and a preset
tab order for form fields—assist all users in using the document without having to read through
the entire document, word by word. Bookmarks are especially useful and can be created from
document headings. Many of these aids can be accessed using the keyboard without relying on
the mouse.
Adobe Acrobat X Accessibility PDF Accessibility Overview
2
Document language
Specifying the document language in a PDF enables some screen readers to switch to the
appropriate language.
Security that will not interfere with assistive technology
Some authors of PDFs restrict users from printing, copying, extracting, adding comments to,
or editing text. The text of an accessible PDF must be available to a screen reader. You can use
Acrobat to ensure that security settings don’t interfere with a screen reader’s ability to convert
the on-screen text to speech.
Document structure tags and proper read order
To read a document’s text and present it in a way that makes sense to the user, a screen reader
or other text- to-speech tool requires that the document be structured. Document structure tags
in a PDF define the reading order and identify headings, paragraphs, sections, tables, and other
page elements.
Alternative text descriptions
Document features such as images and interactive form fields can’t be read by a screen reader
unless they have associated alternative text. Though web links are read by screen readers, you
can provide more meaningful descriptions as alternative text. Alternative text and tool tips can
aid many users, including those with learning disabilities.
Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader Accessibility Features
Accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat X and Adobe Reader X fall into two broad categories:
features to make the reading of PDF documents more accessible and features to create
accessible PDF documents. To create accessible PDF documents, you must use Acrobat, not
Reader.
Features for Accessible Reading of PDFs
All versions of Adobe Acrobat X, Adobe Reader X, Acrobat X Standard, Acrobat X Pro,
and Acrobat X Suite provide support for the accessible reading of PDF files by persons
with disabilities.
•
Preferences and commands to optimize output for assistive software and
devices, such as saving as accessible text for a Braille printer
•
Preferences and commands to make navigation of PDFs more accessible,
such as automatic scrolling and opening PDFs to the last page read
•
An Accessibility Setup Assistant Wizard for easy setting of most
preferences related to accessibility
•
Keyboard alternates to mouse actions
•
Reflow capability to temporarily present the text of a PDF in a single easyto-read column
•
Read Out Loud text-to-speech conversion.
•
Support for screen readers and screen magnifiers
Adobe Acrobat X Accessibility PDF Accessibility Overview
3
Features for Creating Accessible PDFs
•
Creation of tagged PDFs from authoring applications
•
Conversion of untagged PDFs to tagged PDFs from within Acrobat
•
Security setting that allows screen readers to access text while preventing
users from copying, printing, editing, and extracting text
•
Ability to add text to scanned pages to improve accessibility
•
Tools for editing reading order and document structure
•
Tools for creating accessible PDF forms
Though Acrobat Standard provides some functionality for making existing PDFs accessible, you
must use Acrobat Pro (also included as part of Acrobat X Suite) to perform certain tasks—such
as editing reading order or editing document structure tags—that may be necessary to make
some PDF documents and forms accessible (See “Table 1: Features for Creating Accessible PDF
Files by Product” on page 3).
Table 1. Features for Creating Accessible PDF Files by Product
Adobe
Reader X
Create PDF documents from
any application that prints
Convert Microsoft Word,
Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher,
and Access files to PDF with
one-button ease*
Capture web pages from
Microsoft Internet Explorer
and Mozilla Firefox as rich,
dynamic PDF files for review
and archiving with onebutton ease*
Scan paper documents
to PDF and automatically
recognize text with optical
character recognition (OCR)
Save PDF files as Microsoft
Word documents, retaining
the layout, fonts, formatting,
and tables, to facilitate reuse
of content*
Easily create fillable PDF
forms from paper or existing
files using the Form Wizard
Enable users of Adobe
Reader® (version 8 or later)
to fill in and save PDF forms
locally
Customize Accessibility
Preferences with an easyto-use wizard
•
Acrobat X
Standard
Acrobat X
Acrobat X Suite
Pro
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Adobe Acrobat X Accessibility PDF Accessibility Overview
4
Set high contrast colors
for better visibility
Enable large type display
by setting text to reflow
through pages
Listen to the text in a PDF
file as it is read aloud
Make PDF documents
more accessible by
adding tags to control
reading order and
improve navigation
Adobe
Reader X
Acrobat X
Standard
Acrobat X
Acrobat X Suite
Pro
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Create dynamic XML forms
with Adobe LiveCycle®
Designer ES2 (included)*
Specify a reading order for
pages or columns of text
Validate accessible PDF
documents and check for
possible accessibility issues
The Acrobat X Pro Accessibility Guide Series
To assist those who use Adobe Acrobat X Pro to create PDF files with the production of content
that is accessible to people with disabilities, Adobe Systems has created a series of accessibility
guides for Adobe Acrobat X Pro.
PDF Accessibility Overview (this document)
The Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: PDF Accessibility Overview details what is meant
by accessibility when considering the PDF file format. It distinguishes between the accessibility
features of the the file format and the accessibility features of the Adobe Acrobat X and Adobe
Reader application and how the features of the software and the file format interact to achieve
accessibility for people with disabilities.
Creating Accessible PDF Documents from Microsoft® Word
The Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: Creating Accessible PDF Documents from Microsoft®
Word provides an example using Microsoft Word of how to use Acrobat’s PDFMaker to make
accessible PDF files from the popular word processing application. Some of the techniques apply
to the Microsoft Office productivity suite as well, such as PowerPoint® presentation graphics
program.
Acrobat X Pro PDF Accessibility Repair Workflow
The Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: PDF Accessibility Repair Workflow provides a stepby-step method for analyzing existing PDF files and making them accessible based upon that
analysis.
Adobe Acrobat X Accessibility PDF Accessibility Overview
5
Using the Accessibility Checker in Acrobat X Pro
The Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: Using the Accessibility Checker describes the
accessibility checkers for PDF files that are included in Adobe Acrobat X Pro. Even if you
generate an accessible PDF file from an authoring application such a word proccessing
application or desktop publishing program, you should then follow the steps in this guide in
order to identify any items that may have been missed in the initial conversion or to add PDF
accessibility features that are not provided by the authoring tool.
Creating Accessible PDF Forms with Acrobat X Pro
The guide entitled Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: Creating Accessible Forms describes
how to use the forms tools within Adobe Acrobat X Pro to add descriptions to form fields, tag
untagged forms, set the tab order, manipulate tags, and perform other PDF accessibility tasks.
These techniques do not apply to PDF forms from Adobe LiveCycle Designer.
Acrobat X Pro Complete Best Practices for Accessibility
The complete content of the individual guides is also available as a single, comprehenive
document entitled Adobe® Acrobat® X Pro Accessibility Guide: Best Practices for Accessibility.
For more information
Solution details: www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/acrobat/
Program details: www.adobe.com/accessibility
Contact information: [email protected]
Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704
USA
www.adobe.com
Adobe, the Adobe logo, Acrobat, Acrobat Connect, ActionScript, Adobe Captivate, Authorware, Flash, and JRun are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe
Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the
United States and/or other countries. Java is a trademark or registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks
are the property of their respective owners.
© 2011 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.
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