Accessible documents

Where possible, use HTML to convey text-based information. If you need to provide a PDF, use the built-in tools to ensure your document is accessible.


Can you incorporate this content directly into your website instead of uploading a document? Web pages are easier to read online, and easier to update if information changes.

If you want to give people the option to print, you can provide a “print this page” option to avoid maintaining two sources of information.

When PDFs make sense:

  • Secure forms, especially where a signature is required
  • Complex design items (brochures, viewbooks, posters) intended for print purposes

In either case, an accessible version of the information is required, either as web page content or an accessible PDF.

PDFs produced through UC+M

University Communications + Marketing (UC+M) is working to make all new PDFs created by their designers accessible when a properly-formatted webpage isn’t available.

If you have existing web PDFs created in partnership with UC+M that may need updating for accessibility, please get in touch your UC+M marketing contact.

If you have questions about editing your documents for accessibility, please review the accessibility checklist and associated resources.

Best practices

  • Make sure the non-accessible version does not include new or different information
  • The easiest way to create an accessible PDF is through the source: Microsoft Word, InDesign, etc.
  • Provide some context for users about what the PDF will contain; e.g. “Download the latest issue of our newsletter to read about...”
  • Include a descriptive link and the file size od the document
  • Use the proper link class: PDF

Additional resources