PDF Accessibility Tools & Resources Roundup

Some resources to help you get started with PDF Accessibility. Please use the comments to alert us to any resources that need adding to the list. PDF Accessibility Resources The Matterhorn Protocol 1.02To promote adoption of PDF/UA by software developers and document testers alike, the PDF Association’s PDF/UA Competence Center developed the Matterhorn Protocol, a […]

Some resources to help you get started with PDF Accessibility. Please use the comments to alert us to any resources that need adding to the list.

PDF Accessibility Resources

  • The Matterhorn Protocol 1.02To promote adoption of PDF/UA by software developers and document testers alike, the PDF Association’s PDF/UA Competence Center developed the Matterhorn Protocol, a list of all the possible ways to fail PDF/UA.Following the requirements of PDF/UA, the document consists of 31 Checkpoints comprised of 136 Failure Conditions.The 1.02 release of the Matterhorn Protocol, dated April 30, 2014, provides minor editorial corrections. One checkpoint – 08-003 – is now designated 01-007.

    NOTE: The Matterhorn Protocol 1.02 (PDF, 339kB, 2014-06-26) is delivered as a PDF file conforming to PDF/UA-1 (ISO 14289-1) and to PDF/A-2a (ISO 19005-2). It is a reference-quality PDF/UA file.

  • PDF/UA Reference Suite
    To serve as a reference for software developers and practitioners interested in best-practices for creating tagged and accessible PDF files, the PDF Association’s PDF/UA Competence Center has posted a set of 10 PDF documents conforming to PDF/UA-1.

    Ranging from publications to transactional records, the collection represents a cross-section of documents reflecting the wide variety of uses for PDF technology.

    The set includes the latest 1.02 release of the Matterhorn Protocol, the PDF Association’s definitive algorithm for PDF/UA conformance.

    The PDF/UA Reference collection demonstrates correct tagging in a number of sophisticated cases, including:

    • Content spanning multiple pages
    • Complex table structures
    • Multiple languages within a single document
    • Interactive forms and JavaScript
    • Links targeting structure elements

    While each file in the collection complies with PDF/UA-1 many also comply with PDF/A-2, the archival standard for PDF. Note that PDF supports the use of additional structure elements that can be present but do not impact the content or logical stream interpretation or representation.

  • Tagged PDF Best Practice Guide: Syntax
    A publication of the PDF/UA Technical Working Group, this document is intended for developers implementing tagged PDF and PDF/UA. Others (including authors with some technical knowledge of PDF’s accessibility mechanisms) may also benefit from this document.

    This guide is also intended to be useful for those performing detailed accessibility testing on PDF documents claiming conformance with PDF/UA, or on PDF documents claiming to be accessible according to some other specification.

    Keep in mind that as of today most PDF documents do not follow these recommendations.

    The latest update to the original Tagged PDF Best Practice Guide includes detailed guidance for all structure element types and attributes, and provides guidance for PDF 2.0.

  • PDF Accessibility Series Practice Files

Free PDF Accessibility Tools

  • PAVE – Validate and Fix PDF Accessibility
    You can use PAVE to make your PDF documents accessible and to interpret conventional reader programs correctly. It does not change the visual layout of your PDF. The ICT Accessibility Lab of the ZHAW School of Engineering which developed PAVE, is making it available free of charge for personal use.
  • CommonLook PDF Validator
    Our free PDF Validator combines CommonLooks’ proven PDF technology and feature set into the perfect tool for testing and validating documents.
  • PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) Free PDF/UA checker
    The PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) 3 is a freeware of the Swiss foundation “Access for all” for PDF accessibility testing.

    The features:

    • a PDF/UA-check with all machine-testable checkpoints of the matterhorn protocol
    • a screenreader preview for evaluating the logical document structure visually
    • a view of the tag tree with all properties and attributes
    • statistics concerning the document structure

    With PAC 3 – the worldwide first ISO 14289-1 (PDF/UA) validator – it is possible to evaluate the PDF/UA compliance of your accessible PDFs.

    Download PAC 3
    Download the newest version (only for Windows):

  • From Word to accessible PDF
    axesPDF for Word empowers every Word user to create a top quality accessible PDF in seconds. Remediation is not needed anymore. Quality assurance becomes a no-brainer. The key is to use styles and templates that are optimized for accessibility. Everything else is done by axesPDF for Word.
  • Grackle Suite End-To-End Accessibility for G Suite
    Walks user through accessibility fixes in Google Docs. Save as tagged PDF, rearrange structure.
  • pdfGoHTML
    pdfGoHTML is a free Acrobat Plug-in converting tagged PDF files into HTML supporting the ISO PDF/UA standard for universally accessible PDF documents and forms. One simple click on the plug-in button converts the tagged PDF into HTML that is opened in the default browser. In the resulting HTML different views can be selected to examine the tagging structure, have a more flexible reading experience or make the document accessible for people with visual disabilities or dyslexia.

    When opening a PDF file, pdfGoHTML immediately indicates whether or not the file is tagged and allows a one-button conversion into HTML in the default browser. Users can easily switch how the HTML is displayed to adjust it to their specific needs: browser default, structure tags, easy reader, inverted, low vision, and dyslexia.

    For those who need to evaluate the tagging quality of a PDF file, the ‘structure tags’ view in the exported HTML provides a very quick, intuitive quality analysis tool that shows where the tagging structure of a tagged PDF needs improvement. callas pdfGoHTML will substantially speed up the creation and evaluation of tagged PDFs, and ensures a much higher degree of usability of tagged PDF files.

  • The Tingtun Checker
    The Tingtun Checker has been developed with support from PTS in the WTKollen project, and from H2020 in the EIII project and will provide services to web pages and PDF documents for accessibility.
    The page checker automatically detects barriers in Web documents (HTML and XHTML). It is intended to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG2.1). The PDF checker checks the accessibility of PDF documents.

Commercial PDF Accessibility Tools

  • axesPDF QuickFix
    axesPDF QuickFix is your time-saving tool to check and remediate PDF documents during the process of making them fully accessible and compliant with PDF/UA, WCAG 2 and Section 508. Accessibility issues are easily found and most of them are fixed instantly with a single click.
  • CommonLook – PDF Accessibility and Compliance
    CommonLook, a leader in PDF accessibility, provides software and professional services to help organizations achieve compliance with document accessibility standards, including WCAG, PDF/UA and Section 508.
  • Open Access Technologies
    Based in scenic New Hampshire, Open Access Technologies (OAT) is an innovative provider of accessibility e-publishing services & solutions.

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