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Creating an Accessible Syllabus and CV, Part 2 [Video]

All right, so if you’ve made it this far, you should have a Word document that has been prepped for PDF conversion. I will briefly outline a few tips for exporting your document, but then we’ll go over how to interpret your accessibility report within your PDF.

Exporting Your Document to PDF

You may be tempted at this point to select the option to print to PDF and then convert your document to PDF from there. Please don’t do this! Choosing this option essentially turns your document into an image and all of the tagging you just completed in Word will be unreadable by assistive technology.

Instead, you can select Save As and choose PDF from the list of options. I also checked the box next to “Best for electronic distribution and accessibility.” If you don’t see that option, please refer to these step-by-step instructions from the Office of the Texas Governor.

Finding the Accessibility Report

Screenshot that shows how to add the Accessibility shortcut in Adobe Acrobat Pro. Now that you’ve exported your document as a PDF, it’s time to open it in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Once you have the program open, go to the Tools tab at the top. Scroll until you find the item marked “Accessibility,” and use the dropdown to select “Add Shortcut.”

Now if you tab over to your document, you should see “Accessibility” added to the tools on the right side of the page. Click “Accessibility” to access your report.

Making Sense of the Accessibility Report

Now that you have selected the Accessibility Report, you should see several accessibility options on the right side of your document.

The first says “Autotag Document,” but you shouldn’t need this one because you tagged your document before exporting to PDF. You can also skip over “Autotag Form Fields” because we are working with your CV and syllabus today, so you shouldn’t have any form fields.

Next, you’ll see “Reading Options.” If you click this one, you should see that “Tagged reading order” is selected. This is what we want, so you should be good to go.

Full Check

Now it’s time for the “Full Check.” Ensure that all the options are checked off and select “Start Checking.” This will generate a report that is available on the left side of the page.

Screenshot of the Full Check accessibility report in Adobe Acrobat Pro. You will see several page elements listed with carrots next to them. Go through and open each carrot to review the items listed.

Under “Document,” you will always find two options that need manual checking: logical reading order and color contrast. To check on the logical reading order of your document, navigate to the “Order” icon in the “Accessibility Checker” panel on the left. You should now see your document marked up with numbers over different blocks of your page. This is showing you the reading order of the document.

In my case, an image is not displaying in the correct reading order, so I can adjust that reading order by dragging and dropping the items listed in the tree. Do this for each page of your document.

When you are finished, you can tab over to the Accessibility Checker again and right-click “Logical Reading Order” and select “Pass.”

For Color Contrast, you should be fine as long as you are using black text and blue hyperlinks on white paper. But if you want more info on verifying your color contrast, please refer to this Color Contrast Checker on the WebAIM website.

In the “Page Content” section, you’ll see another notification for a manual check for navigation links. This is a great time to go through your document and make sure all your links are working appropriately. If they are, right-click on this item and select “Pass.”

Now continue reviewing all of the remaining items listed in the “Accessibility Checker” pane to ensure that nothing is showing as “Failed.”

Accessibility Report

Back over on the right side of the page you can select the “Accessibility Report.” This contains the same information as the “Full Check,” but you may prefer the details and summary provided in this view.

You can skip “Identify Form Fields” and head straight to “Set Alternate Text.”

Set Alternate Text

When you select “Set Alternate Text,” you’ll be prompted with a dialogue box that will open another box that shows the alt text that you entered for your images. If, for some reason, your alt text from your Word doc got stripped out during the exporting process, you can add it back in at this point.

You can now skip “Setup Assistant,” and we already viewed and made modifications to your “Reading Order,” so you’re done! Be sure to save your changes, and then you’re ready to add your document in Blackboard.

Jayna Phinney
Jayna Phinney

Jayna Phinney is the Instructional Technology Specialist for the ASU College of Science and Engineering. Contact her at or 325-486-6264.



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