Use these strategies to make your content more accessible

Create and Verify PDF Accessibility

When you create a PDF document, you need to verify its accessibility to make an easier navigation for students when it includes tables, images, hyperlinks, bookmarks and alternative text.

It is vital to note that only copyright-free materials such as creative commons licensed materials, OER or VU owned materials are uploaded. Check copyright terms and conditions before uploading anything, especially PDF files retrieved from VU licensed databases as there is an increased risk of copyright infringements occurring. For further support and information on your copyright responsibilities read through the Copyright for teaching at VU or Copyright on VU Collaborate Help Guide.

This guide covers the following points.


Accessibility Check Report

1. Go to the Navigation Bar in the top part of your PDF and click on the Tools menu tab.


2. It will open another window. Scroll down until you find the Protect & Standardize section. Then select the Accessibility icon.


3. A new menu is going to appear on the right side of your screen.

4. Click on the Accessibility Check option. 

select Accessibility Check

5. In the pop-up window that is going to appear, make sure all the checkboxes are ticked then select the Start Checking button. 

Accessibility check options

The results are displayed in the Accessibility Checker panel on the left, which also has helpful links and hints for repairing issues.

After you run the Accessibility Check Report, this will display one of the following statuses: Passed: The item is accessible. Skipped By User: Rule was not checked because it wasn't selected in the Accessibility Checker Options dialogue box. Needs Manual Check: The Full Check/Accessibility Check feature couldn't check the item automatically. Verify the item manually. Failed: The item didn't pass the accessibility check.


Accessibility Issues

1. Tag the PDF

To ensure the PDF will score well in the accessibility check-in VU Collaborate, check that it is tagged properly. It may well be that the document is not tagged in the proper reading order.

To fix this item automatically, expand the Document issues field from Accessibility Checker on your left side.

Document Issues

Right-click on Tagged PDF - Failed, and then choose Fix from the Options menu. Acrobat automatically adds tags to the PDF.


To specify tags manually, do the following:

Choose Tools, then scroll down until you find the accessibility Icon and click on it.

In the top right of your screen select Autotag Document.


The Add Tags Report appears in the navigation pane if there are any issues. The report lists potential problems by page, provides a navigational link to each problem, and provides suggestions for fixing them.

You have to enable tagging in the application in which the PDF was authored, and re-create the PDF.


2. Alternate text issues

To ensure proper accessibility of your PDFs, the images in the document either have alternate text or are marked as artifacts. If after you complete your review, you find that you have Alternate text issues, you can do the following:

Expand the Alternate Text issues tab from the Accessibility Checker panel.

Right-click on Figures Alternate Text - Failed, and choose Fix from the Options menu.

Figures Alternate Text issues

Then add alternate text as prompted in the Set Alternate Text dialogue box.


3. Headings

If after your Review you find that you need to check the headings, this means that the headings are not nested properly. To fix this issue:

Expand the Headings issue from the list in the Accessibility Checker panel.

Right-clicking (Windows) or Ctrl-clicking (Mac OS) the Appropriate nesting - Failed and choosing Show in Tags Panel.

Headings issue how to fix

In the Tags Panel check for the heading and use the right-click to select New Tag.

Headings select new tag

Use the dropdown arrow to select the type of heading that you need to fix.

In the title space,  write the title that you want to use. Click Ok.


4. Tables

Because table structures can be complex, it is best practice to check them for accessibility manually.

For accessibility, all tables in the PDF must have a header.


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

Note: Table summaries are optional, but can improve accessibility.

If you require more information please visit Create and verify PDF accessibility (Acrobat Pro).



Further Support

Contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for information and resources on technology-enhanced learning, or visit
Contact ITS Service Desk on (03) 9919 2777 or via self-service for technical support.

Admin Only