Making PDF Files Accessible

A Simple Test

Try to copy the text of your PDF file and paste it into a Word document. If it looks just like you see it in your PDF file, the document is fully accessible and you’re good to go.

If Your Document is Not Accessible

OCR with Windows and Office (PDF) is a wonderful step-by-step guide (with pictures) to taking an inaccessible PDF file to a fully accessible text document using Acrobat Reader (the free PDF viewer) and Microsoft Office tools.

Users Don't Like PDFs

A great side effect of this procedure is that you'll have a plain text version of your document, ready to be republished in any other format, including as a plain ol' user-friendly and search engine optimized web page or site.

Jakob Nielsen, web usability expert, has put together some compelling points about how PDFs are good for printing, but not for online consumption.

In addition, PDFs are not search-engine friendly: Just Say No to Adding More PDFs to Your Website.

Acrobat Reader is a Vulnerable Application Targeted by Malicious Users

In 2011, a total of 35% of all exploit-related incidents targeted vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat Reader.

You can reduce your risk by using a less-targeted application like Nitro PDF Reader, but be aware that people who have heard that "PDF files are unsafe" may be wary of clicking on links to your PDFs.

For more information contact web@uua.org.