PDF Compliance

According to the Adobe.com article Creating accessible PDFs

To create an accessible PDF, you need the following:

  • Adobe InDesign to prepare a document for accessible PDF export using the process described in this article.
  • Adobe Acrobat DC (Document Cloud) to finalize the accessibility process. You cannot accomplish these steps with the free Adobe Reader application.

LinkedIn.com has a course Creating Accessible PDFs created by Chad Chelius, Adobe Certified Instructor, Conference Speaker, Published Author, that is available to you. You will need to log in using your UTHealth credentials. Here is a short description of the course.

Accessibility means making sure your content is available to as many people as possible. When you make your PDFs accessible, it means adding tags, bookmarks, alt text, and other information that makes the files readable and navigable to users who are visually or mobility impaired. Using the latest versions of Adobe Acrobat DC, Microsoft Word, and Adobe InDesign, it’s now much easier to create valid, accessible PDFs.

If it is not possible to purchase these programs, consider replacing them with Microsoft Office products. The Office of the Texas Governor has published Creating Accessible Microsoft Office Documents, which includes training. The Great Lakes ADA Center has posted a video from a recent online conference—Creating Accessible Digital Documents—which provides insights on how to make Microsoft documents accessible (link posted on this website Nov. 30, 2021). Visit the page, look under the heading Multimedia Archives, then press the Playback Video link.


Jennifer Canup, Executive Director, University Web Services, provides some good information about what to do with the existing PDFs on websites.

Review the PDFs to determine if they are necessary

  • Is it content? Consider converting the content to web pages.
  • Is it a fillable form to be submitted? Consider creating a web form. Contact your local web development team for that technical expertise.
  • Is it a document that needs to be signed? Consider making it a DocuSign document.

If the PDF is needed, ensure it is ADA compliant.