Converting Word Documents to Accessible PDFs

Microsoft Word 2016 provides the ability to save documents as Adobe PDFs. This is helpful for making documents less editable by others, sending static versions for review only. Microsoft Word does provide the ability to ensure that any PDF created can be accessible by individuals using a screen reader or narration.

There are several simple steps to save as an accessible PDF:

  1. Ensure your Word document is accessible through the Accessibility Checker, located at File -> Check for Issues -> Check Accessibility. Make any needed corrections.
  2. Save a copy of your original Word file, in case adjustments are needed in the future.
  3. Begin saving as an accessible PDF. by going to File -> Export -> Create PDF/XPS.
  4. In the Publish as PDF or XPS box, click Options (located in lower right section).
  5. In the Options box, ensure that Create bookmarks using HeadingsDocument structure tags for accessibility, and ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A) are checked. Check each option if they are not already checked.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Determine where to save your file, then click Publish.