PDF and Office Documents


  • Ensures all users of PDF and Office documents can use these product successfully
  • Documents created can be used, viewed, and understood by all audiences and people with disabilities

Attributes of Accessible Documents

  • Text within the file is selectable and search-able (text is not rendered as an image)
  • Document language is specified (e.g. "English")
  • Document structure is tagged to define a logical reading order and to identify headers, paragraphs, data tables, form and other page elements
  • Images have alternative text descriptions
  • Color Contrast is sufficient and information is not conveyed using color alone

PDF Documents 

We recommend Adobe Acrobat Professional software for creating the most accessible PDF documents.  
Note: MIT Faculty and Staff can download Adobe Acrobat products at https://ist.mit.edu/adobe/cc (MIT Certificates required).

Microsoft and Open Office Documents

PDF documents are typically exported from source documents authored in Microsoft Office or Open Office.   We recommend incorporating accessible elements into your source documents. Styles, Headers, Alternative Text, Tables, and Links, make both your Office and your exported PDF documents more accessible.

All inquiries are welcome at accessibility [at] mit.edu.