Ideas 5 - Andrew Downie - PDF Accessibility


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Andrew Downie from the Centre for Learning Innovation within the NSW Department of Education and Training will demonstrate how to make accessible PDFs that can bring benefits to screen reader users. Andrew Downie will also demonstrate how screen reader users can access and use well made Flash and PDF material.

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  • Ideas 5 - Andrew Downie - PDF Accessibility

    1. 1. Accessibility of PDF Files <ul><li>Andrew Downie </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for Learnin g Innovation </li></ul><ul><li>NSW Department of Education & Training </li></ul>
    2. 2. What we will cover <ul><li>Brief overview of screen readers etc </li></ul><ul><li>History of PDF accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Different forms of PDFs </li></ul><ul><li>Creating widely accessible PDFs </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits of properly structured PDFs </li></ul><ul><li>Repairing PDFs </li></ul><ul><li>Creating PDF forms </li></ul>
    3. 3. Adaptive Technology Overview <ul><li>Screen readers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Synthetic speech and/or electronic Braille output </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Essentially limited to reading text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sophisticated facilities for displaying visual presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Text/graphics enlargement software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many magnification and colour selection options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optional augmentation with synthetic speech </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning/reading difficulties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inexpensive speech output products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sophisticated reading assistance incorporating synthetic speech </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. History of PDF Accessibility <ul><li>Initially completely inaccessible </li></ul><ul><li>Acrobat V4.5 introduced a plugin – text but no formatting </li></ul><ul><li>Acrobat V5 introduced tagging (structure) </li></ul><ul><li>MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility) utilised </li></ul><ul><li>The reader must choose single page or whole document display </li></ul><ul><li>Adobe and adaptive technology developers continue to refine access </li></ul><ul><li>Many (probably most) PDFs are still created without structure </li></ul><ul><li>PDFs still viewed negatively by advocates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Partly based on historical inaccessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partly due to low standards compliance </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Image Only PDF Files <ul><li>What is it? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paper document scanned into Acrobat as a picture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Problems: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot adjust colour </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot search for text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot be read with screen readers etc </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some work-arounds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acrobat has OCR capability and preserves page structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can use other OCR software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Print to Microsoft Office Document Imaging from Adobe Reader </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not equitable access </li></ul>
    6. 6. Unstructured PDF Files <ul><li>May or may not be accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Acrobat and Adobe Reader report to adaptive technology </li></ul><ul><li>Changing reading order may help </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic tagging with Acrobat may help </li></ul><ul><li>Manual tagging an option </li></ul><ul><li>Protected files: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure cannot be corrected without password </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cannot be saved to accessible formats </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Structured PDF Files <ul><li>Positives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Text should be fully accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic data tables should read well </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Page numbers essentially correct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal and external links fully operable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bookmarks a great feature if present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alt text on images accessible if present </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protected files are accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negatives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paragraph location problematical but improving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Font attribute information etc not available </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Accessibility Setup <ul><li>Shortcut to Acrobat/Reader Preferences ctrl-k </li></ul><ul><li>Colours set under Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Settings for screen readers under Reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reading order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting for number of pages in a large document </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read out loud options – page or file </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Easy Structured File Creation with MS Office <ul><li>Use formal document styles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Formal hierarchical heading styles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List styles for lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paragraph styles for paragraphs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alt text on images </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Right click the image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Select Size </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Select the alt text tab </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Replace the filename with meaningful text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do not: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use text boxes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use tables for layout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Split table rows across pages </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Microsoft Word to PDF <ul><li>Acrobat adds menu item to Word </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Default settings will create tagged PDF file </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free Microsoft plugin will create PDF </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In Options be sure to check Tags for Accessibility </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Repairing PDF Files in Acrobat Professional <ul><li>Automatic tagging of untagged file </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced menu; Accessibility; Add tags to document </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produces a report – take with a grain of salt </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Manual tagging tools: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tag tree </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View Menu; Navigation Panels; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>View Menu; Navigation panels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Touch up Reading Order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced Menu; Accessibility; </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Creating PDF Forms <ul><li>Open Live Cycle Designer from Acrobat (V8 or later) Forms Menu </li></ul><ul><li>If using an existing PDF, should be untagged </li></ul><ul><li>Can use MS Word, RTF file etc as template </li></ul><ul><li>Most fields should be recognised automatically </li></ul><ul><li>Click Accessibility tab </li></ul><ul><li>Add tool tip to fields </li></ul>
    13. 13. Some Screen Readers <ul><li>VoiceOver: Built in to all new Apple Macintoshes </li></ul><ul><li>NVDA: Free from </li></ul><ul><li>System Access To Go: Free while connected to </li></ul><ul><li>Window-Eyes (free 30-minute demo) from </li></ul><ul><li>JAWS (free 30-minute demo) from </li></ul>
    14. 14. Resources <ul><li>Karen McCall’s publications available through IRTI ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Logical Document Structure handbook: Word 2003, ISBN 0-9738370-3-9– teaches how to make an accessible Word document that can be repurposed to create a tagged PDF and to make for easier Braille conversion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessible and Usable PDF Documents: Techniques for Document Authors, ISBN 0-9738246-1-1– walks document author or repair technician through what can go wrong and how to fix it in either a tagged or untagged PDF file </li></ul></ul><ul><li> for accessible PDF resources </li></ul><ul><li> for information on creating accessible PDFs </li></ul><ul><li> for PDF on Adobe Reader and screen readers </li></ul><ul><li>NetCentric at for creating Section 508-compliant PDFs </li></ul><ul><li>Save as PDF or XPS plug-in for Office 2007 </li></ul><ul><li> comments by Joe Clark on PDF usage </li></ul>
    15. 15. Contacting Andrew <ul><li>Phone: (02) 9715-8347 </li></ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>News and Reviews: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>