How do I convert my Word document to PDF?

Im not sure I could keep count of the number of times I have been asked this question so here is a whole post dedicated to the topic!

Before we begin – are you getting weird alt text on your document? You might have a bug you need to patch.

Do not use the print to pdf function in MS Word. This will overwrite all of your hard work that you did in MS Word.

The Accessibility Guy

If you properly format your Word document – you can export an almost perfect PDF file that will be close to passing accessibility requirements. By making a Word document accessible, you can cut the time to remediate a PDF by more than 90%. Need some guidance on how to make Word documents accessible?

Video Overview of how to convert from Word to PDF and retain the structure

Text Overview for how to set settings for export from Word to PDF

Step 1

Ensure that your word document is fully accessible. This page will walk you through all the steps required for making a word document accessible.

Step 2

Select File > Export > Create XPS / PDF Document

File export create pdf/xps

Step 3

Select the options button to adjust settings before selecting publish. These options will ensure that you are exporting a tagged pdf.

select options

Step 4

Adjust the options to reflect the following:

  • Page range set to all
  • Publish what set to Document
  • Include non-printing information has all three checkboxes selected
Page range set to all

Publish what set to Document

Include non-printing information has all three checkboxes selected

Now validate

Open up your PDF and ensure there are tags in the document.

That’s it!

Now you can begin making your PDF document accessible which is much easier if starting with a Word document.

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