PDF Accessibility - What Makes a PDF Accessible?

The accessibility of electronic documents generally refers to facilitating the use of technology for people with disabilities.

To be accessible, a PDF document must contain:

  • A logical reading order
  • Alternative text that defines your images
  • Header rows defined for tables
  • A specified document language
  • Field descriptions defined for all fields
  • The correct field tab order

An Introduction to PDF Accessibility - Part 1 (2:14)

Accessible PDFs: The Process

  • Preparation - Preparing your document for accessibility

    1. Create an accessible file in Word, PowerPoint, etc.
    2. Convert your file to PDF using Acrobat PDFMaker plug-in
  • Stage 1 - Review - Check your PDF for Accessibility

    1. Perform a quick check using Adobe Acrobat to check for accessibility
    2. If no tags are detected, add tags using Acrobat
    3. Assess the reading order of your PDF
    4. Perform a full check on your document
  • Stage 2 - Correct:  Repairing accessibility problems

    1. Adjust the reading order of your PDF
    2. Fix any accessibility problems
  • Stage 3 - Final Review: Re-run accessibility checks

    1. Refer to Stage 1: Review, to re-run accessibility checks on your document
    2. If accessible in the final review, the document is ready to post online
Process of creating an accessible PDF document include 4 steps:  Preparation: Prepare your document, Review: check your PDF for Accessibility, Correct: Repairing accessibility problems and Final Review: rerun accessibility checks.

An Introduction to PDF Accessibility - Part 2 (2:30)


  • This training has been funded in part by the EnACT (Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology) grant. 
  • Written and developed by Sacramento State Online Learning professionals, Monica Range and Cryssel Vera and technical crew, Ivan Vajar, Ken Young, and Jennifer Wicks with guidance from the CSU Professional Development Work Group.


If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site or need an alternate format, or you just have questions and want to give feedback, contact the Accessible Technology Initiative.