How to Check PDF Accessibility in Adobe Acrobat


Guide for ASUN Workers on How to Check A PDF for Accessibility Before Posting on Nevada ASUN Website


Why It's Important

Accessibility is more then just following the rules. It is about Equal Opportunity or making the document readable and accessible to as many people as possible. Lastly it is the law that all higher education schools must have most of the files on their websites Accessible. 

How to Set It Up

Before you can make pdfs accessible you need to use the built in Adobe accessibility checking tool. This tool tells you what problems you have that prevent the pdf from being accessibility.  

First you will need to add the Accessibility tool. 

Click on the Tab labeled Tools 

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Next Click add on the Tool labeled Accessibility. 

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Once that tool is added you should see it in the side bar.  After you click on it in the side bar it should open another side bar with a list of functions. On the list you should see a circle with a check mark in it.

Click on this.

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​Next it will open a pop-up with a bunch of options. The default options should be fine so you can just click Start Checking. 

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Accessibility Report

After you have run the Accessibility Checker it will make a list on the left-hand side of the screen with all the Accessibility errors.  

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Most Common Issues

This Section will discuss the most common problems you will face when making a PDF accessible and how to fix those problems.  

Tagged PDF

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If this rule check fails, the document isn’t tagged to specify the correct reading order. This is important because the screen reader won’t read the information on the document. To fix this item automatically, right click on the issue Tagged PDF – Failed and a list will appear. The first option will be Fix choose this and, depending on how long your document is, Adobe will fix your issue with Tags and remove the problem from ones you need to fix on your list. 

Logical Reading Order & Color Contrast – Needs Manual Check

These two issues will always be marked as errors whenever you run “Full Check.” The reason being that they need to be manually checked. For now, you can right click on each and click Fix for both suggestions. If you converted this document from a Microsoft application to a PDF, these issues were fixed earlier when you ran Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker. If it is any other type of document, send it to the Technology Department for further review.  

Primary Language

Setting the document language in a PDF enables some screen readers to switch to the appropriate language. This check determines whether the primary text language for the PDF is specified. If the check fails, set the language. Simply right click on the issue Primary Language – Failed and click on Fix. A Dialog Box will appear where it asks you to specify the language. It should automatically have English selected, so just click “Ok.  

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This option reports whether there is a title in the Acrobat application title bar. If there is an error, it means that either the title is blank, or Adobe didn’t pick up on the title in the first check. Right click on Title – Failed and select Fix to see a dialog box letting you know what the title currently is. Typically, the title box will be marked as “Leave As Is,” yet it will be blank. In order to fix the title, you will need to unclick Leave As Is, and type in what the title of the document is then click Ok.  

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This check fails when the document has 21 or more pages but doesn't have bookmarks that parallel the document structure. To add bookmarks to the document, right click on the issue Bookmarks – Failed and select Fix. A dialog box will appear where you can select the elements that you want to use as bookmarks. Once you have chosen the elements you want to use (or you click on Select All), click Ok.

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Figures Alternate Text (Images)

All PDF Documents that contain an image are required to have alternate text for the images that describe that image. For this issue, right click and press Fix. Then put in a brief description of the image. This is important because when someone uses a screen reader, this alternate text is the only information about the image that will be given to the user. The description can be as simple as “ASUN Senate Logo.” 

Tables - Headers

For accessibility, it’s necessary that all tables in the PDF have a header.  

Tables - Regularity

To be accessible, tables must contain the same number of columns in each row, and rows in each column.  

Headings - Appropriate Nesting

Appropriate Nesting just mains that the headers are not in the right or appropriate order. To fix this issue right click and press Show in Tags then make sure the headers are in order. EX. H1 is first, H2 is second and so on.  

Manual Tagging Tools

Reading Order Tool

After clicking on this tool, it will open a small popup with a bunch of different buttons depicting tags.  

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This panel will also highlight all tagged items on the current page you are looking at. This is how you can change tags of different items or tag items that are not tagged.  


For all other questions and issues, feel free to contact the Technology department at the email: 



Article ID: 157900
Wed 3/20/24 12:07 PM
Fri 3/22/24 2:06 PM