PDF (Portable Document Format) files are very popular for their ability to be read by multiple devices. However, it is vital they be of sufficient quality to be accessible to all students.
- Make sure the PDF is text-based, not simply images of text. This will allow for text-to-speech for students who need it and will make it possible to enlarge text without it becoming unreadable.
- PDF must be atagged PDFa to be accessible.
- Documents should be structured with headings marking each content section.
- Photos and non-decorative graphics must include an alternative text description.
- Like HTML, tables must be properly marked up with header rows and/or columns.
- Before scanning a document yourself (which will create inaccessible, image-based PDF), check if the document already exists in a library database, such as EBSCO or Elsevier. View the other articles under Accessibility for more information.
Guide: PDF Creation from Scans & Checking and Tweaking
Video: PDF Accessibility Check and Adobe Acrobat Pro
One of the easiest and most reliable ways to make PDFs accessible for users of all abilities is to output it from Microsoft Word. It is used by all sorts of content authors, including those who rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers. Please note that Adobe Acrobat Pro may needed for some features.
For more information visit PDF Documents from Word on the OSU Accessible Classroom Technologies site or view the additional articles under Accessibility.
Though Microsoft PowerPoint is very widely used, it has limitations in terms of its accessibility.
- Use built-in slide layouts
- Include a title on every slide
- Choose a clean design with high contrast
- Give non-decorative images aAlt Texta
- Make links readable (add URL if printing is likely)
- Use ahidden slidesa to add accessible information (instead of Notes pane)
- Add captions to movies, provide transcripts for audio (It is recommended to include a transcript with video, as well.)
- Run a check: File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility
- Text boxes will not be read in visual order
- Color should not be used to convey all meaning
- Automatic transitions may outpace the viewer. Don't use them.
- Complex animations add distraction
- Overcrowding adds distraction
- For math equations, write out a full English-language text equivalent of the math and add it as an aAlta description on the image of the math equation. If you know (or think) your audience knows the LaTeX markup language, include a LaTeX version, as well.
- Consider using PDF files as an alternative to a PowerPoint presentation.
For further information, see Accessible PDF from PowerPoint or view the additional articles under Accessibility.