Learning Centers

Accessible PDF

Until recently, the focus in content accessibility has tended to focus on HTML and XML. As a result, content managers often turn a blind eye to the hundreds of thousands of PDF files sitting on their servers, downloaded every day... and 99% of them, hideously inaccessible, and utterly non-compliant with Section 508.

In this Learning Center, Planet PDF introduces the basic issues of accessible PDF, and what you can do about it. If you have questions, please post them on the new PDF Accessibility Conference in the Planet PDF Forum.

About the Author
Duff Johnson picture

Duff Johnson

Since 2011, Duff has worked in the ECM industry specializing in PDF technology since 1995. An industry leader, Duff co-chairs the international committee that manages ISO 32000, the specification for the PDF file format. Responsible for marketing and product...  More


An Introduction to Accessible PDF

By Duff Johnson

Accessibility is not an especially familiar concept in the computing world. Most of us encounter the idea of accessibility often enough by way of special vehicle parking spaces, ramps, braille signage, beeping crosswalks, and so on. Improving accessibility is more than a courtesy, it is an accepted and vital goal of any advanced society.

Accessible PDF: A Strategic Review

By Duff Johnson

In February, 2003, I argued on Planet PDF that accessibility is a big issue for Adobe Systems - and for the future of the PDF format. See that article, and a sidebar: Comparing Tagged PDF to Accessibility for the Masses for my suggestion. With the release of Reader and Acrobat 6.0 and the Read Aloud feature, Adobe took a major step towards my recommendation for adopting an Accessibility for the Masses perspective. If you have Reader 6.0 and speakers attached, open a PDF and try a Control-Shift-V. (You'll be glad to know that Control-Shift-E stops it!).

PDF files can comply with Section 508. Now it's your move.

By Duff Johnson

Problem: you host PDF files, and they are some of the most heavily downloaded files on your site. You need to make them compliant with Section 508. At the same time, you want them to deliver a good experience to the end-user, beyond formal compliance. Can it be done?

What does Section 508 mean for your PDFs?

By Duff Johnson

A paragraph-by-paragraph review of the code, and it's implications for your PDF files.

What is Tagged PDF?

By Duff Johnson

A quick introduction to the concept of logical structure in a PDF file, and why it matters.

Tags or Scripts for Accessible Forms?

By Duff Johnson

Forms pose special challenges for PDF files. Early in 2003, I asked Bryan Guignard for his view on this complex and thorny subject.

Resources on Adobe Acrobat and PDF Accessibility

By Duff Johnson

International standards and how-to guides.

PDF In-Depth Free Product Trials Ubiquitous PDF

Debenu Aerialist

The ultimate plug-in for Adobe Acrobat. Advanced splitting, merging, stamping, bookmarking, and link...

Download free demo

Debenu PDF Tools Pro

It's simple to use and will let you preview and edit PDF files, it's a Windows application that makes...

Download free demo

Five visions of a PDF Day

In the world of PDFs or as we like to say Planet (of) PDF, a year isn't a real PDF year without an intense few days of industry knowledge sharing.

May 15, 2018
Platinum Sponsor

Search Planet PDF
more searching options...
Planet PDF Newsletter
Most Popular Articles
Featured Product

Debenu PDF Aerialist

The ultimate plug-in for Adobe Acrobat. Advanced splitting, merging, stamping, bookmarking, and link control. Take Acrobat to the next level.


Adding a PDF Stamp Comment

OK, so you want to stamp your document. Maybe you need to give reviewers some advice about the document's status or sensitivity. This tip from author Ted Padova demonstrates how to add stamps with the Stamp Tool along with related comments.