How to Ensure Your PDFs are ADA Compliant

Feb 15, 2019
Digital Marketing Agency


Welcome to Raw Codex, your go-to resource for all things related to computers, electronics, and technology. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of ensuring your PDFs are ADA compliant. With accessibility becoming increasingly important in today's digital age, it is crucial to make sure your documents are accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities.

Understanding ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. This law extends to the digital realm, requiring websites and online content to be accessible to all users. PDFs, being a common format for sharing information, must also comply with ADA guidelines.

Why ADA Compliance for PDFs Matters

Accessible PDFs ensure that individuals with disabilities can access and interact with the content effectively. By making your PDFs ADA compliant, you demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and provide equal opportunities for all users to access information. Failure to comply with ADA guidelines may not only result in legal consequences but also contribute to a poor user experience.

Key Steps to Make Your PDFs ADA Compliant

1. Tag Your PDFs

Tagging PDFs is an essential step in making them accessible. Tags provide structure to your document, allowing assistive technologies to correctly interpret the content. Utilize heading tags, paragraph tags, and list tags to structure your PDFs appropriately. This ensures proper reading order and navigability.

2. Use Alt Text for Images

Include alternative text (alt text) for images within your PDFs. Alt text describes the content of the image, enabling individuals with visual impairments to understand the visual information being conveyed. Use concise and descriptive alt text that accurately represents the image.

3. Ensure Color Contrast

Ensure that the color contrast in your PDFs meets accessibility standards. Use high contrast between text and backgrounds to enhance readability, especially for individuals with visual impairments. Test the color contrast using available tools to ensure compliance.

4. Provide Descriptive Hyperlinks

Make sure hyperlinks within your PDFs are descriptive and provide clear context. Avoid generic phrases like "click here" or "read more." Instead, use descriptive text that explains the purpose or destination of the link. This allows users to navigate the document effectively.

5. Include Table Headers and Summaries

If your PDF contains tables, ensure that the tables have proper headers and summaries. This makes it easier for individuals using assistive technologies to comprehend and navigate tabular data.

6. Optimize for Assistive Technologies

Test your PDFs with various assistive technologies to ensure compatibility. Assistive technologies, such as screen readers, rely on proper tagging and structure to interpret the content correctly. Regular testing helps identify and address any accessibility issues.

The Benefits of ADA-Compliant PDFs

Creating ADA-compliant PDFs goes beyond just meeting legal requirements. It provides numerous benefits to both individuals with disabilities and your organization:

  • Accessibility for all users, regardless of ability
  • Improved user experience
  • Expanded reach and inclusivity
  • Compliance with disability laws and regulations
  • Enhanced brand reputation and trust


Ensuring your PDFs are ADA compliant is a crucial step in creating an inclusive digital environment. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make your PDFs accessible to individuals with disabilities, providing equal access to information for all users. Remember, accessibility is not only a legal requirement but also a social responsibility.

With Raw Codex as your trusted resource, you can stay up to date on the latest technology trends and best practices for creating ADA-compliant content. Make a positive impact on the web by prioritizing accessibility in your PDFs!