Accessibility Reports

Performing a Full Check for Accessibility (Acrobat Professional Only)

A PDF that contains structural tags may not fulfill all requirements for accessibility.  A full check for accessibility checks for the presence of tags, as well as, but not limited to:

  • A specified document language
  • Alternate text for images
  • Descriptions for form fields
  • A logical tab order for form field elements

The standards for accessibility that must be met for electronic material at Sacramento State contain additional requirements, but those listed above are often identified as problem areas in a PDF.

Acrobat offers standards to check against when performing a full check.  When performing a full check in Acrobat, check against this standard: Section 508 Web-based intranet and internet information... The ability to check against standards is only available when using Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional or later.

To perform a full check for accessibility:

  1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Professional.
  2. Click the Advanced menu, choose Accessibility, then Full Check.
  3. Make sure Create Accessibility Report is checked (under Report and Comments Options).  Note the location the report will be saved to.

    Check Create Accessibility and Choose a standard to check against.  Screenshot of Accessibility Full Check window in Acrobat.
  4. Choose Section 508 Web-based intranet and internet... from the Name drop-down menu (under Checking Options).
  5. Click the Start Checking button at the bottom.
    1. When finished, Acrobat will display an Accessibility Report in the Navigation Panel at the left.  A copy of this report will also be saved on your computer at the location you noted in step 3 above.
  6. View the report that was created.  You can view it in Acrobat after it is created, or open up the saved report from the location you noted in step 3 above.

Understanding Accessibility Reports

An accessibility report generated by a full check in Acrobat is divided into several sections: A Detailed Report, Summary, Hints for Repair, and Disclaimer.

To understand an accessibility report, you need to become somewhat familiar with the accessibility standards that are being checked against - in particular, Section 508 Web-based intranet and internet information.  It is helpful to begin with the Summary section of the accessibility report that is generated (see screenshot below).

To understand the summary, refer to the standard that was used to generate the report.  The PDF in the screenshot below was checked using the Section 508 Web-based intranet and internet information... standards.  To learn about Section 508 standards, visit the CSU's Section 508 Web Standards page at

Screenshot of PDF Accessibility report compared to CSU's Section 508 Web Standards page.

In the example above (screenshot), the accessibility report (on the left) was opened from the report file automatically generated by Acrobat (step 3 of Performing a Full Check, page 6).  The Section 508 Web Standards page (from CSU, see link above) is also opened (on the right).  Each of the Section 508 "checkpoints" (labeled) 'a', 'b', 'c' and so forth) are listed in the Summary section of the report file.  Each of these "checkpoints" are explained in detail on the Section 508 Web Standards page.

Once you reach a basic understanding of the Summary section of your accessibility report, you can move on to the Detailed Report section of the accessibility report.  Information on using the Detailed Report section to assist in repairing accessibility problems in a PDF is available in Stage 2 - Correct: Repairing Accessibility Problems section.

Video Tutorial - Using Adobe Acrobat's Accessibility Reports (10:12)


  • 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.

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