How to Make Complex Tables Accessible in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

This post will go over how to tag complex tables in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. There is a dedicated section on this site on how to tag tables, but this is a bit of a deeper dive and provides some extra practice!

Would you like The Accessibility Guy to do the heavy lifting for you?

Video Overview

Making Complex Tables Accessible: Setting the Base Structure

To begin, you must create a baseline structure. If the document doesn’t have tags, use the auto tagger. This feature helps identify parts of the table and labels them. In this video, we are using the new API Cloud-based tagging.

Tweaking Table Headers for Better Accessibility

A key challenge with complex tables is unclear headers. To fix this, you can use the edit PDF function to add hidden text as headers. Make the font white so it blends with the background. Then, you can tag this new text to act as the table header. Remember to change the tag from TD to TH to make it a proper header. This step is covered in the video above.

Techniques to Improve Table Structure

  1. Remove Unrelated Content: If the table has unrelated headers, move them out. Change their tags to act as higher-level headings.
  2. Adjust Scope: Set the scope for rows and columns. This helps assistive technologies understand the table.
  3. Use Table Editor: The table editor feature helps check and adjust header settings.
  4. Add Table Summary: Always include a table summary. It helps with understanding the table’s purpose.

Final Checks and Testing

After making changes, run the built-in accessibility checker in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. This checks for any missing features like table summaries. Tools like PAC 2021 checker can also be used to validate if the table is fully accessible.


Making tables in PDFs accessible may seem daunting. But with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, it becomes manageable. Follow these best practices to ensure your content is accessible to everyone.

Faculty Guide: Preparing for an Accessible Semester

Preparing for an Accessible Semester: Where to Start

Are you a faculty member wondering how to make your course accessible? Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. First, look at what’s in your course. Check course pages, documents, videos, and third-party links. Identify what needs to be accessible.

Video Overview

Steps to Follow for Preparing an Accessible Semester

After checking your course, follow these steps:

  1. Follow Rules: Use WCAG, Section 508, and PDF/UA guidelines. Make sure all content, not just course pages, is accessible.
  2. Learn Tools: Understand your tools like MS Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. They have different accessibility needs.
  3. Use Closed Captioning: Videos need captions. Otter AI can help generate SRT files for this.
  4. Test Content: Use screen readers like NVDA to test your content. Make sure it reads well.
  5. Get Feedback: Contact accessibility pros to check your work. Adjust your course based on their feedback.
  6. Keep Updating: Don’t stop after initial fixes. Keep your course updated to stay accessible.

Step 1: Understand the Rules

Familiarize yourself with important guidelines and standards. These include the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and PDF/UA standards. These rules apply to every part of your course, not just the web pages.

Step 2: Master Your Tools

Before diving into making changes, understand the specific accessibility features and requirements of the tools you’re using. Software like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe PDF have unique accessibility settings. Learning these will help you effectively use each tool to its full accessibility potential.

Step 3: Closed Captioning

All videos in your course should have closed captions. There are various tools that can help you create these captions. For instance, Otter AI can generate SRT files, which can be used for adding captions to your videos.

Step 4: Testing

Testing is crucial. Use assistive technologies like screen readers to test your content. NVDA is a free screen reader for Windows that can be used for this purpose. This will give you insights into how accessible your content is.

Step 5: Seek Expert Feedback

After you’ve made the necessary adjustments, consult with accessibility experts. This can help you validate the changes you’ve made and ensure you didn’t overlook anything.

Step 6: Continual Updates

Accessibility is not a one-time task. After your course is up and running, it requires ongoing checks and updates to ensure it remains accessible.

If you have a large number of videos, focus on captioning new ones first. Gradually work your way back to older content as time allows.

Bonus Tip: Monitor Your Progress

Keep an eye on the accessibility of your course. New tools and best practices emerge regularly. Staying updated will help you continue to provide an accessible learning environment.

Creating an accessible course is an ongoing responsibility. But the effort you put in ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities, has an equal opportunity to learn.

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Making Accessible Presentations with Canva

This video and post will provide an overview of how to use Canva AI to create a presentation, export it to PDF, and then make it accessible.

Utilizing Canva for Accessible Presentations

Canva, a popular design tool, offers the ability to create presentations. The process starts by selecting a blank presentation and utilizing Canva’s magic Design button. A small window prompts the user to describe the presentation topic.

Canva Magic AI

By selecting a theme around “accessibility section 508 design principles,” Canva provides a choice of styles. The creator can select one that passes color contrast requirements and create the presentation.

The created presentation in the video covers various aspects such as:

  • Introduction to accessibility in Section 508 design principles.
  • The law of Section 508 and its necessity.
  • Principles of design include text alternatives for non-text content, keyboard interface functionality, and effective use of color and contrast.
  • Techniques to ensure accessibility, benefits of designing for accessibility, and the importance of various elements like high contrast colors, alternate text images, descriptive link tags, keyboard navigation, and using headings and lists.

Making a Canva Presentation Accessible with PDF/UA

After creating a presentation in Canva, the file can be downloaded as PDF standard. The accessibility review involves opening the tags panel and addressing the tags within the document. The initial steps may involve:

  • Reordering and labeling content appropriately.
  • Artifacting irrelevant images.
  • Creating headings and lists as needed.

Accessibility checkers like Adobe’s can be utilized. Any errors identified may require manual adjustments such as creating artifacts, fixing the bounding boxes, or other logical structures. The process may also involve adding the PDF/UA identifier, and the result is a document that meets PDF/UA requirements and passes WCAG 2.1.

This comprehensive guide demonstrates how to create an AI-based presentation in Canva and make it accessible, embodying the principles of inclusivity and design thinking.

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