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In Microsoft Office 2013/2010 (specifically Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access), it is possible to create a “tagged” PDF. Tagging sections of a PDF is a way to programmatically specify the order of the file’s elements. This will allow visually impaired users to more easily navigate the document with assistive technology, and will reduce the amount of work needed to optimize the PDF for accessibility later on. This page gives instructions for creating a tagged PDF in Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows.

Note: Creating a tagged PDF does not fully guarantee that it is fully WCAG compliant, but for many Office documents, a tagged PDF will add many important accessibility features.

Office 2013/2016 for Windows

  1. Create an accessified Word, PowerPoint or other Office 2013 file, following the recommendations for Word accessibility and PowerPoint accessibility.
  2. From the File menu, select Save As…
  3. Select the Computer option, then select My Documents, Desktop or Browse option to select your specified directory.Image of navigation to select directory in Word 2013
  4. Select the PDF format.
  5. Click the Options button to open a new window.Image of navigation to save a PDF in Word 2013
  6. Ensure that the “Document structure tags for accessibility” option is checked.
  7. Check the option for “Create bookmarks using:”
  8. Select the Headings option.Image of Options screen to place headings and bookmarks
  9. Click OK to close the window.

Office 2010 for Windows

  1. Create an accessified Word, PowerPoint or other Office 2010 file, following the recommendations for Word accessibility and PowerPoint accessibility.
  2. From the File menu, select Save As…
  3. Select the PDF format.Image of navigation to save a PDF in Word 2010
  4. Click the Options button to open a new window.
  5. Ensure that the “Document structure tags for accessibility” option is checked.
  6. Check the option for “Create bookmarks using:”
  7. Select the Headings option.Image of Options screen to place headings and bookmarks
  8. Click OK to close the window.

Check Accessibility in Adobe Acrobat

All PDFS should be inspected in Adobe Acrobat

  1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat to verify reading order and tagging.
    NOTE: Adobe Acrobat XI is available from the Penn State Computer Store, and is installed
    in CLC Student Labs.
  2. In Adobe Acrobat, confirm that the reading order is set correctly.
    NOTE: This is important for documents with multiple columns, shapes and/or text boxes.
  3. Open the tags panel and confirm that there are tags in the PDF document. Check also that:
    • Heading text is tagged as H1, H2 or other appropriate heading tag.
    • Images are marked as “Figures”. Right click the tag to ensure that there is ALT text.
    • Table tags should also include appropriate table heading (TH) tags for cells in the first row (i.e. at the top of the columns.
  4. To be fully WCAG compliant, a PDF document should include a language tag for English or other language.

Refer to the PDF Files for more information.
Note: The Accessibility Team can test sample PDF documents to ensure they are screen reader accessible. Contact accessibility@psu.edu to request a test.

Online Office 365

To save a Word file as a tagged PDF in the online version of Word:

  1. Go to the File tab and then click Save As.
  2. After that click the Download as PDF option.

A visual representation of the steps needed to save a file as a PDF for the online version of Word.

 

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