Making a PDF Accessible: Episode 03| Moorpark Community College

Welcome to episode three on making college PDFs accessible. Today, we focus on Moorpark Community College’s website. We look at their course wellness document to improve its digital inclusivity.

Video Guide

In case you missed them, here are Episode 1 and Episode 2 in our Making Accessible PDFs: Community College Series.

Key Takeaways from this Episode

This form was buggy right from the top and required a number of fixes. Here’s a summary what we did to make this PDF accessible.

Extracting pages to get to the “Prepare Form” options

The PDF seemed to be an old version of the form that wasn’t cooperating with the new version of Acrobat. We extracted the pages from each other and recombined them to create a new PDF. Editing went smoothly from there.

Proper tag structure

We used the auto-tagger. While it added some tags it wasn’t perfect. Every Form tag should be nested inside of a P tag.

An accessible PDF shows all form tags nested inside of a P tag

Tagging references (adding a link to reference)

Under ‘Prepare for Accessibility’, select the Reading Order Tool to create a reference. Next, select the content needing the reference, right click, create link, use page view and invisible rectangle, and hit next. Scroll down to where you want the link to go, select it, hit create link. This particular reference tag will link to the note.

Creating a link in an accessible PDF

Fixing tagged annotations

From the Accessibility Tags panel on the right, click options, select find, choose unmarked annotations, find. When the link is found, tag it and close.

Fixing titles

From the start we noted primary language, title, and character encoding fails. After reformatting and getting our p tags properly nested, we were able to fix the primary language and title fails. Just right click Title – Failed and select fix. Easy pass.

Fixing the title fail after reformatting p tags in a PDF

Creating tag from selection

This breaks apart the text from the form field, creating an accessible PDF. Select the text you want to tag, navigate to the Accessibility Tags panel, choose options, then select create tag from selection. To finalize the section, artifact the blank lines and delete their p tags.

How to separate text field from form field by creating tag from selection.

Embedding Fonts

Navigate to All Tools, use print production, add printer marks, preflight menu, fix font encoding, embed missing fonts.

Embedding fonts from the preflight menu in Adobe Acrobat

Fixing character encoding

This is a little tricky so save your PDF in case it breaks. Select edit from the top right, and delete the items out. In this case the check boxes are still in the form. We don’t need the placeholders. We deleted the square text in the background to fix this fail.

Deleting the background text to fix character codes in a PDF


Run the PAC tool to ensure PDF UA and WCAG compliance.

Running the PAC tool on a PDF to ensure PDF/UA accessibility


This review involved some interesting fixes that transformed Moorpark’s existing document into an accessible PDF. The solutions provided ensure better user experience and make it compliant with standards like PDF UA and Section 508. Remember, accessibility takes time but is vital for inclusivity.

I can be your accessibility expert. For more detailed insights, tutorials, and in-depth discussions on accessibility and related topics, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel: The Accessibility Guy on YouTube. Subscribe for regular updates!

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