• Media Type Adobe Acrobat PDF > Page Structure
  • State Active
  • Advisory No

Security settings set too high in a PDF document or preventing the user from opening the document in a standalone PDF reader can prevent assistive technologies from accessing the PDF document.

Compliant Example

Document that can be downloaded or opened in Acrobat Reader outside of the browser with
Accessibility access allowed.

Non-Compliant Example

PDF document that opens in the browser with maximum security.

PDF authors should allow documents to be viewed with security that at least permits text access for screen readers.

From Adobe Acrobat:
  • Choose file > properties
  • Activate the security tab
  • If no security is set this requirement is met
  • If security is desired, activate the Change Settings button (or choose a security option such as password if one has not already been set)
  • Check the check box that states "enable text access for screen reader devices for the visually impaired"
  • Activate Ok to save the settings

It is recommended that the document be able to be downloaded and displayed outside of the browser as viewing PDF content in the browser can somtimes not be accessible to users of screen readers and the keyboard due to focus related isuses.

Note: Allowing the copying of text, images and other content will help users of many assistive technologies acces to the document. If copying is permissable developers are encouraged to check the box that states "Enable copying of text, images, and other content."

Organization Standards

  • § 508-1194.22 Web Sites and Applications
    • (m) Provide a link to an accessible plug-in
  • Section 508 and 255 (Revised 2017)
    • Chapter 3: Functional Performance Criteria
      • 302.1 Without Vision
  • WCAG 2.0 Level A
    • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value
  • WCAG 2.1 Level A
    • 4.1.2 Name, Role, Value

Other Mapped Standards

  • § 508-1194.21 Software Applications and Operating Systems
    • (b) Applications shall not disrupt or disable accessibility features
  • § 508-1194.31 Functional performance criteria
    • (a) Ensure access for blind and visually impaired
  • WCAG 1.0 Priority 2
    • 08.1 - Programmatic elements should be directly accessible
  • WCAG 2.0 Conformance Requirements
    • 4. Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies
  • WCAG 2.1 Conformance Requirements
    • 4. Only Accessibility-Supported Ways of Using Technologies
  • Severity10
    in range of 1 to 10
  • Noticeability10
    in range of 1 to 10
  • Tractability2
    in range of 1 to 10