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Re: PDF vs. HTML


From: jeb
Date: Jul 30, 2004 1:42PM

Some time has gone by since this question was asked (and responded to), but
I have another question dealing with the same issue.

Today I discovered - quite by accident - that Adobe Acrobat Reader (v6.0.2)
with its various plug-ins - has a built-in text reader (see: View> Read Out
Loud). I've tested some PDFs that I had located on my hard drive and found
that it "read" all of them with mixed results. The "Read Out Loud" feature
was able to read everything on the page, but not always in the order it was
intended. It also was not able to read graphic images that contain text
(similar to HTML when someone does not add the ALT attribute). Lastly, it
seemed to have a hard time understanding that the period at the end of the
sentence means that you're supposed to "stop" - lots of run-on sentences.

So, my new question is, will the "Read Out Loud" work with ALL PDFs or only
ones that have been previously been "made accessible."

BTW, There is also a plug-in for the Acrobat Reader that is called "Make
Accessible" - but I have not figured out how this works. Anyone know?

My reason for asking these questions is that I historically have strongly
advised clients against the use of PDFs because of the accessibility issue.
Yet, there appears to be an increasing number of PDFs showing up. If the
newest Reader is able to in fact "read" these files, then I guess I have to
stop discouraging their use.

Any comments welcome.

John E. Brandt
Augusta, Maine USA


-----Original Message-----
From: julian.rickards [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 8:58 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF vs. HTML

> -----Original Message-----
> From: jeb [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
> Is there a way of telling if a PDF has been made accessible by mere
> review?
> In other words...how can you tell, by simply looking at the file in
> the standard Acrobat reader if someone has made the effort of making
> that PDF accessible?

The Document Properties will tell you what PDF version the PDF is in and
whether or not it is a tagged PDF but without running the PDF through the
Accessbility Checker (at the very least), there is no other way to tell if a
PDF is accessible or not. To do this, you would need to save the downloaded
PDF, then open it in Acrobat 5 or later (not the Reader) and test it for

Julian Rickards
Digital Publications Distribution Coordinator Publications Services Section
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Phone: (705) 670-5608
Fax: (705) 670-5690