If you create PDFs from Microsoft Word 2007 documents, changing some of the settings in Microsoft Word 2007 will make it easier for you to create accessible PDFs.
Adjust Adobe Acrobat conversion settings in Word
You will only need to adjust these settings once. When you save your settings, they will apply to all future PDF conversions. Select:
Select the Settings tab. Under PDFMaker Settings, make sure that:
- Conversion settings are set to standard
- View Adobe PDF result is checked
- Prompt for Adobe PDF file name is checked
- Convert document information is checked
Under Application Settings, make sure that:
- Create bookmarks is checked
- Add Links is checked
- Enable accessibility, and reflow with tagged Abobe PDF is checked
Select the Bookmarks tab. Make sure that:
- Convert Word headings to bookmarks is checked
- Click ok
Simple layouts save time
Documents with simple layouts take less time to make accessible. Multiple column layouts, complicated themes and formatting significantly add to the time it will take to make a file accessible for the web. Evaluate the need for complexity. Simpler is often better.
Use Microsoft Word’s built-in style elements
To accommodate the requirements of screen readers, it’s helpful to format documents using Word's style elements:
- Screen readers are set up to use these styles to identify the elements that make up a document
- Styles provide clues to the reading order intended by the author
- Styles set in your Word document will transfer over into the PDF document during the conversion process
To use styles in Microsoft Word, select:
Accept all changes
If you’ve used Track Changes, make sure that all the changes have been accepted before you convert the document into a PDF. Select:
- Review tab
- Changes group
- Select the drop-down arrow under Accept
- Choose “Accept all changes in document”
Check document properties
To check the document properties, select:
- Office button in the upper left corner
A dialog box will appear. Select the document properties drop-down arrow and select advanced properties. Go to the Summary tab.
Enter a title
Enter a title that gives some detail about the content of the article. It should be understandable out of context.
Enter an author
Instead of having an individual’s name, enter the office that produced the document such as WSDOT Communications. Click ok.
Enter alternate text for images and graphics
Alternate text allows screen readers to describe an image or a graphic to those who cannot see it. To add alternate text:
- Select the image
- Right click to get a menu
- Select size
Select the alt text tab:
Enter alternate text that describes the image or graphic. Click close.
Convert your document into a PDF
Select the Acrobat tab. Select create PDF.
Adobe Acrobat will create the PDF. When it is finished, it will display on your screen.
Use accessibility quick check
Use Adobe Professional’s Quick Check to make sure you haven't missed any major accessibility issues. From the Adobe Professional toolbar, select:
- Quick check
The Quick Check results will appear on the screen. If it passes the Quick Check you've done an adequate job of making it accessible. You can choose the full check option if you wish to check it more thoroughly.
If there are accessibility problems in the document, you can either correct them in the Word document and then re-create the PDF or you can use Adobe Acrobat Professional 8 or 9 to correct any accessibility issues.
WSDOT staff can view a video on this topic on the intranet at: