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Making Existing PDF Files Accessible

You may have PDF files that were either created in a lesser version of Acrobat or were not converted using the tagged or logical structure features in source applications, as discussed earlier in this article. These PDF files are considered untagged, not structured, and certainly not screen reader-friendly.

You can use the Make Accessible Plug-in, available for free download at After you download the software, follow the instructions for installation. When the installation is complete, you can find the Make Accessible command in the Acrobat 5 Document menu.

The following steps show you how to use this new feature:

  1. Open an untagged PDF document.

  2. Select Document, Make Accessible. As this command is being processed, the status is displayed in the status bar.

  3. When this process is complete, select Tools, Accessibility Checker. The Accessibility Checker Options window is displayed. The Accessibility Checker checks each document to determine whether it has the information required to make it accessible.

  4. Select Create a Log file to create a separate file with the results of the accessibility check, and/or select Create Comments in Document to have Acrobat identify each problem throughout the document.

  5. Select the pages you want to be checked in the Pages pane.

  6. Select all items in the Check For pane.

  7. Click OK. The Accessibility Checker begins its checking process. This process may take a few minutes. Upon completion, the Adobe Acrobat message window is displayed with information about the accessibility problems (or lack thereof) encountered in the PDF file.

  8. If you choose to fix these problems, run the Accessibility Checker again when you are finished.

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