How to Format PDF

It is a given fact that all PDF users interact with PDFs differently. In some cases, end-users viewing your PDF may have visual impairments or problems with hand joints and because of such ailments, interacting with computer hardware and software applications can be difficult. This is especially true when navigating long and complex PDF files.

Fortunately, in Section 508 of The U.S Rehabilitation Act, it is stated that all federal agencies must ensure that all digital content is accessible to people with disabilities. In compliance with this regulation, Adobe has offered a way for assistive devices to access PDF file content and interpret it for users. To do this, format your PDF with accessibility preferences.


To ensure your content will be accessible in PDF format before converting, in Word 2013 do the following:

  • 1Open your Word file. Choose File > Export > Create PDF/XPS Document. Click on the Create PDF/XPS button.
MS Word Export PDF
  • 2Select Options from the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog box.
Word Publish PDF Dialog
  • 3Check the box beside Document Structure Tags for Accessibility. Click on OK.
Publish PDF Options

To set Accessibility Preferences and checks for PDFs in Adobe Acrobat 11 Pro:

  • 1Go to View > Tools > Accessibility.
Acrobat Accessibility Option
  • 2Choose Setup Assistant from the Accessibility section in the Tools Pane.
Acrobat Accessibility Setup Assistant
  • 3In the new dialog box, choose the accessibility options you need.
Acrobat Accessbility Setup Dialog
  • 4The consecutive Accessibility Set Up screens will walk you through different accessibility options. The second screen, for example, allows you to choose settings that will cater to those with visible disabilities.
Acrobat Accessibility Visibility Options
  • 5The third screen will help set up the content’s reading order.
Acrobat Accessibility Reading Order
  • 6In the fourth screen, you can choose settings for Read Out Loud functions, the Page Layout view, and the Document Zoom defaults. Once you set these, click on Next.
Acrobat Accessibility Page Viewing
  • 7In the fifth screen, you can set options for auto-saving and initial viewing.
  • 8When all is set, click on Done.
Acrobat Accessibility Auto Saving