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
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).
- Overview of Adobe Acrobat PDF Accessibility
- LinkedIn tutorial on creating accessible PDFs
- Accessible PDF Forms from WebAIM
- Instructions for Creating Accessible PDF Forms from Word (PDF)
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.
- Penn State Guidance on Making Microsoft Office Products Accessible (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
- National Center on Disability and Access to Education Cheat Sheets (Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and InDesign)
- Ontario College of Arts and Design’s Inclusive Research Center Authoring Techniques (Microsoft Office and Open Office instructions)
All inquiries are welcome at accessibility [at] mit.edu.