WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

PDF Accessibility
Other Techniques

Here are a some other tools and techniques to further enhance PDF accessibility.

"Make Accessible" in Action Wizard

The Acrobat Action Wizard automates common multi-step processes. One action—"Make Accessible,"—is especially useful when starting with a scanned or untagged PDF. It is a helpful way to ensure that you don't miss any steps, like providing a page title or a document language, while making your document accessible.

To run this action, use the Tools tab to add Action Wizard. Then open Action Wizard and choose Make Accessible.

The action is organized into three steps:

  1. Prepare
    1. Add Document Description
    2. Set Open Options
    3. Recognize Text using OCR
    4. Detect Form Fields
    5. Set Tab Order Property
  1. Set Language & Tags
    1. Set Reading Language
    2. Add Tags to Document
    3. Set Alternate Text
  2. Run Accessibility Check
    1. Run Accessibility Full Check


Running "Recognize Text using OCR" overwrites any existing tag structure, and the new tag structure is seldom as good as the original. To skip this step, right-click Recognize Text using OCR, and select Skip This Step from the menu.


Bookmarks are links to structural elements within a PDF. These can be helpful for navigating the document, especially for keyboard and screen reader users. Open the Bookmarks panel by clicking its icon on the Navigation pane (the second option from the top).

Some bookmarks are created automatically from structure in the source document during the export process. Bookmarks may also be created manually.

Adding Bookmarks from the document structure

You can create new bookmarks by clicking on the Options menu and selecting New Bookmarks from Structure.

The "Structure Elements" dialog lists the different types of tagged elements present in the document. Select one or more tag types—such as <H2> and <H3>—and click OK.

The new bookmarks are placed in an unnamed group. Make sure to give each bookmark group a descriptive name, such as the document title. You can reorder or nest bookmarks by clicking and dragging with a mouse or by using the arrow keys and the Cut, Paste under Selected Bookmark, and Paste after Selected Bookmark menu options.

Screenshot showing the Paste under Selected Bookmark option