How to Fix PDF Accessibility Issues in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2019 (Windows 10)

Note: This article covers software available from the UIT Software Downloads page at no cost (Cougarnet ID credentials required).

Part I: Setting up Adobe Acrobat

Step 1: Add the Action Wizard from Tools

  1. On the Home screen tab, click the Tools
  2. On the Tools tab, locate the Action Wizard tool (under the Customize heading) and click Add.

Step 2: Open a Document

  1. In the Menu Bar, click File.
  2. Select a PDF document from the System Dialog Window.

Step 3: Navigating to the Action Wizard

  1. In the Secondary Toolbar (right-hand pane), click the Action Wizard tool icon.
    Note: If the Action Wizard is difficult to locate, click the expand button (long vertical bar with an Arrow), to view the Tool icons with text labels.
  2. In the Action List, select Make Accessible.
  3. The right-hand pane changes to display the current Files to be processed, each task included in the Make Accessible action, as well as the instructions to execute the action.
    Note: By default, the action runs on the document that’s currently open.

Step 4: Start the Action Wizard (Review and Fix All Issues)

To sequentially complete all tasks required to make a fully accessible PDF:

  1. Click Start to launch the wizard.
  2. Follow the prompts to complete the Make Accessible action.
  3. On the Menu Bar, click the Save button to finish.

Note: Some documents may only have a few accessibility issues and might not require reviewing/completing all the tasks in sequence. The following are some common accessibility issues that critically impact users of assistive technology:

  • Add Document Description (Title)
  • Recognize Text using OCR
  • Set Reading Language
  • Autotag Document
  • Set Alternate Text

The remaining steps in this Article will cover how to individually complete all the tasks in the Make Accessible Action Wizard.

Part II: Completing Action Wizard (Make Accessible) Tasks

Step 5: Add Document Description

  1. Uncheck Leave as is.
  2. Input title in the Title of Document field.
  3. Click Ok to continue.

Step 6: Recognize Text using OCR

  1. Set Document Language to English (US).
  2. Set the Output option to Searchable Image Exact.
  3. Set the Downsample To option to 600 dpi.
  4. Click Ok to continue.

Step 7: Detect Form Fields

  1. Click No, Skip this Step to continue.

Note: If your document does have fillable objects / fields, please contact the EIR Accessibility Coordinator for support.

Step 8: Set Reading Language

  1. Set Language to English.
  2. Click Ok to continue.

Step 9: Autotag Document

Note: This task will be completed automatically after Setting the Reading Language. Otherwise, click the Autotag Document from the Action Wizard pane.

Step 10: Set Alternative Text

Note:  If there is no image in the PDF file, this step will not be shown. 

  1. A diaglog box will display the options for the highlighted image in the document.
  2. For decorative (or erroneously highlighted) images, check the Decorative figure option.
  3. Otherwise, input an appropriate image description.
  4. To proceed to the next image, click the right (next) arrow button.
  5. Click Save & Close to continue.

Part 3: Accessibility Check Report

Step 11: Run Accessibility Full Check

Note: If you would like to save a separate document of the report to review at a later time, check the Create accessibility report option.

  1. In the “Page Range” option, select All pages in document.
  2. In the “Checking Options,” set the Category to Document.
  3. Click the Select All button to select all the checking options.
  4. Click Start Checking to produce a report.

Step 12: Reviewing the results in the Accessibility Checker panel

Once a report has been run, the issues that have been found are displayed in the Accessibility Checker panel. The results tree displays one of the following states for each rule check.

  • Passed: The item passed this accessible check.
  • Passed Manually: The item was marked passed by manual inspect.
  • Skipped By User: The rule was not selected in the Accessibility Checker Options dialog box.
  • Needs Manual Check: The Full Check feature could not check the item automatically. Verify the item manually.
  • Failed: The item did not pass the accessibility check.
  1. Review the issues in the Accessibility Checker panel.
  2. To investigate reported item, right-click and select Explain. This will open a support article from Adobe with more information on the issue.
  3. For assistance with fixing complex or advanced issues, please contact the EIR Accessibility Coordinator.