Creating Accessible Documents

Accessible Docs

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

~ Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Per University web policy, online documents such as PDFs must meet web accessibility standards.

Tip: Before posting a document to the UMB website, consider whether it needs to be a document at all, or if, instead, you can turn that content into a web page using content types. Web pages often provide a more seamless, easy viewing experience than a downloadable document, and UMB's web templates incorporate many built-in accessibility features.

Instructions for PDFs

PDFs are one of the most commonly used document formats on UMB websites.

When creating a PDF using an application like Word or Indesign, make use of the accessibility features built into those applications:

Run a full check on every PDF you intend to post to the website using a tool like Equidox or Acrobat Pro.

Please be aware that there are some issues an automatic checker cannot detect. For example, the checker will find whether a PDF is tagged, but it cannot always determine whether the tags are properly applied.


Equidox is a PDF remediation tool that is available to UMB employees as part of your Office365 account.


Adobe Acrobat includes features for checking the accessibility of a PDF. Many of these features are exclusive to the Pro version of Adobe Acrobat.

Other Document Types

Though less commonly used than PDFs, the accessibility requirements also apply to Word documents, Powerpoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets.