Make accessible PDF documents using the built in accessibility checker

PDF: Using the Acrobat X Pro Accessibility Checker

Adding Accessible Elements in PDF Documents in Adobe Acrobat Pro

Reading Order in PDF Documents

The tab order must reflect the logical order of the document. Your document’s tab and reading order is the order in which a screen reader will read its elements. For sighted users, the logical order of PDF content is also the visual order on the screen. For keyboard and assistive technology users, the tab order through content, including interactive elements (form fields and links), determines the order in which these users can navigate the content.

Touch Up Reading Order tool overview

The Touch Up Reading Order tool provides the easiest and quickest way to fix reading order and basic tagging problems. When you select the tool, a dialog box opens that lets you see overlay highlights that show the order of page content. Each highlighted region is numbered and highlighted with gray or colored blocks; the number indicates the region’s placement in the page’s reading order. After you check the reading order of the page, you can correct other, more subtle tagging issues as needed.

The Touch Up Reading Order tool is intended for repairing PDFs that were tagged using Acrobat, not for repairing PDFs that were tagged during conversion from an authoring application. Whenever possible, return to the source file and add accessibility features in the authoring application. Repairing the original file ensures that you don’t have to repeatedly touch up future iterations of the PDF in Acrobat.

You can use the Touch Up Reading Order tool to perform the following accessibility tasks:

  • Visually check, and then repair, the reading order of page content
  • Tag fillable form fields and their labels
  • Add alternate text to figures and descriptions to form fields
  • Fix the tagging of simple tables, and prepare complex tables for more advanced manipulation in the logical structure tree
  • Remove nonessential content, such as ornamental page borders, from the logical structure tree

To perform advanced reading order and tagging tasks, such as fixing complex tables, removing obsolete tags, and adding alternate text to links, use the Tags panel. For more information, see Edit tags with the Tags panel on “Touch Reading order” article.

These instructions are from “Touch Reading Order Tool” 

Headings in PDF Documents

Adding and editing headers in Adobe Acrobat Pro, using the Tags tab.

Edit tags with the Tags panel

You can edit a tag title, change a tag location, or change the tag type for an element. All page content must be tagged, marked as an artifact, or removed from the logical structure tree.

Edit a tag title

  • In the Tags panel, expand the section of the logical structure that you want to edit.
  • To edit the title, Select the tag, choose Properties from the options menu, enter text in the Title box, and click Close.

Move a tag

  1. In the Tags panel, expand the Tags root to view all tags.
  2. Select the Tag icon of the element that you want to move.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Drag the tag to the location you want. As you drag, a line appears at viable locations.

    • Choose Cut from the options menu, and select the tag that appears above the location you want to paste the cut tag. From the options menu, choose Paste to move the tag to the same level as the selected tag. Or choose Paste Child to move the tag within the selected tag.

Change the element type

  1. In the Tags panel, expand the section of the logical structure that you want to change.
  2. Select an element and choose Properties from the options menu.
  3. Choose a new element type from the Type menu, and then click Close.

Edit tags with the Tags panel - PDF - Adobe Acrobat Pro

Alternative text for images in PDF Documents

Figures alternate text

Make sure that images in the document either have alternate text or are marked as artifacts.

  • Select Figures Alternate Text in the Accessibility Checker panel, and choose Fix from the Options menu button menu. Add alternate text as prompted in the Set Alternate Text dialog box.
  • Use the Tags panel to add alternate text for images in the PDF.
  • Open the Content panel button panel and right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) the content that you want to mark as an artifact. Then, select Create Artifact from the context menu. (To display the Content panel, choose View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panes > Content.)

Instructions from

Adding Links to PDF Documents

This text is from “Links and attachments in PDFs” on, please read the full documentation through this link.

Applies to: Acrobat 2017 Acrobat DC, Last Published: June 5, 2017


  1. Choose Tools > Edit PDF > Link > Add or Edit.
    The pointer becomes a cross hair, and any existing links in the document, including invisible links, are temporarily visible.
  2. Drag a rectangle where you want to create a link. This is the area in which the link is active.
  3. In the Create Link dialog box, choose the options you want for the link appearance.
  4. Select one of the following link actions:
    • Go To A Page View
      Click Next to set the page number and view magnification you want in the current document or in another document (such as a file attachment), and then click Set Link.
    • Open A File
      Select the destination file and click Select. If the file is a PDF, specify how the document should open (for example in a new window or within an existing window), and then click OK.
      Note: If the filename is too long to fit in the text box, the middle of the name is truncated.
    • Open A Web Page
      Provide the URL of the destination web page.
    • Custom Link
      Click Next to open the Link Properties dialog box. In this dialog box, you can set any action, such as reading an article, or executing a menu command, to be associated with the link.

Edit a link

You can edit a link at any time. You can change its hotspot area or associated link action, delete or resize the link rectangle, or change the destination of the link. Changing the properties of an existing link affects only the currently selected link. If a link isn’t selected, the properties will apply to the next link you create.

Note: You can change the properties of several links at once if you drag a rectangle to select them using the Link tool or the Select Object tool.


  1. Select the Add or Edit link tool (Tools > Edit PDF > Link > Add or Edit).
  2. Double-click the link rectangle.
  3. In the Actions tab of the Link Properties dialog box, select the listed action you want to change, and click Edit.


  1. Select the Add or Edit link tool (Tools > Edit PDF > Link > Add or Edit).
  2. Select the link rectangle you want to delete.
  3. Choose Edit > Delete, or press the Delete key.

Lists in PDF Documents

This text is from “Bullets and numbering” on, please read the full documentation through this link.

You cannot use the Type tool to select the bullets or numbers in a list. Instead, edit their formatting and indent spacing using the Bullets And Numbering dialog box, the Paragraph panel, or the Bullets And Numbering section of the Paragraph Styles dialog box (if the bullets or numbers are part a style).

A quick way to create a bulleted or numbered list is to type the list, select it, and then click the Bulleted List or Numbered List button in the Control panel. These buttons let you turn the list on or off and switch between bullets and numbers. You can also make bullets and numbering part of a paragraph style and construct lists by assigning styles to paragraphs.

Note: Automatically generated bullet and number characters aren’t actually inserted in the text. Therefore, they cannot be found during a text search or selected with the Type tool unless you convert them to text. In addition, bullets and numbering don’t appear in the story editor window (except in the paragraph style column).

InDesign Docs provides a series of articles about using bullets and numbering to create outlinesmulti-level listsfigure captions, and numbered steps.

  1. Select the set of paragraphs that will become the list, or click to place the insertion point where you want the list to begin.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • Click the Bulleted List button bulleted list toolbar icon or the Numbered List button numbered list toolbar icon in the Control panel (in Paragraph mode). Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while clicking a button to display the Bullets And Numbering dialog box.
    • Choose Bullets And Numbering from the Paragraph panel or Command panel. For List Type, choose either Bullets or Numbers. Specify the settings you want, and then click OK.
    • Apply a paragraph style that includes bullets or numbering.
  3. To continue the list in the next paragraph, move the insertion point to the end of the list and press Enter or Return.
  4. To end the list (or list segment, if the list is to be continued later in the story), click the Bulleted List or Numbered List button in the Control panel again, or choose Bullets And Numbering from the Paragraph panel menu.


Although it is possible to create forms in PDF Documents,  we strongly recommend not using word doc, excel, outlook, or pdf forms, but rather using web based forms instead for security and accessibility reasons. Please read this section about forms from our help site top learn more about forms and making them on our website.