The business world has kept pace with the modern times of the internet and computers, and many companies and offices are moving from traditional paper and drawers to computer files and links. This modernization allows businesses to save time and resources and provide better accessibility for themselves and their clients. The formats and file types used in these processes have progressed over time to accommodate needs for variability, compatibility, and features that a file type can offer.
One of those file types is the Portable Document Format, commonly known as the PDF. It is one of the formats of Adobe Acrobat files. Many people use it to allow users to view and share documents without losing any information conveniently. PDF documents are also readable; anyone can access them across many modern devices. However, PDF has limitations regarding various accessibility features, which can cause hassle and problems viewing your PDF contents for everyone.
The Difference Between A PDF And An Accessibility PDF
In 2001, eight years after the PDF’s introduction, the accessibility feature was added by Adobe Acrobat for people to use. It is a document that provides many additional features that make accessing the records easier and more efficient. At the same time, accessible PDF considers the inclusivity of other users. This feature includes people with disabilities, including visually or cognitively impaired people.
Not every tagged PDF is automatically an accessible PDF, contrary to what many people think. A file is accessible if it meets a set of PDF accessibility guidelines, and tagging is just one aspect of an accessible PDF. Also, an accessible PDF looks precisely like a regular PDF, only with a few advancements possible.
With that in mind, here are some of the reasons why you need accessible PDFs for your business:
1. Searchable Text In the Document
Depending on the content, a document can range from a single page to hundreds or thousands of pages. An accessible PDF searchable text feature allows you to work efficiently, allowing it to skim through every page and look for the word, phrase, or clause you typed in the search bar. This feature will enable you to save time and effort instead of reading the document from beginning to end when looking for a specific statement. However, optical character recognition (OCR) is needed for text within images before you can search for the text included in the picture. The searchable text allows the user to save time for your business by finding the required part of the document with an accessible PDF.
In terms of saving time, another feature of an accessible PDF is the available tags for more specific categorizing information. There are also available tags for headings, images, paragraphs, tables and table headers, lists, and graphs that you could look for in the document. These features can redirect you immediately to the section you are looking for. To know if your PDF has tags, go to the File menu, then Properties, and look for the word ‘Yes’ next to the Tagged PDF and the screen’s lower part. Tags allow you to search for a chapter or a list in your document without having to scroll through everything, saving you time and effort.
A valuable feature of digital documents compared to traditional paper documents is the use of hyperlinks. These are texts in the document that you can click and will redirect you to a different site. Hyperlink texts are helpful for businesses as they can promote their products and services through hyperlinks. At the same time, you can find the supporting document or site without having to exit the record and look for it. Accessible PDFs allow the readers to click on these hyperlinks for a more accessible and smoother process of accessing files.
4. Preferences And Commands For Assistive Technology Software And Devices
Suppose there is anything genuinely remarkable about accessible PDFs. In that case, it is the availability to be optimized for outputs in assistive technology. Assistive technologies are types of equipment, software, or programs that allow people with impairments to access the contents of a document. Some of these are text that speech synthesizers and Braille printers can access. Other valuable tools are screen magnifiers, which support high contrast and alternative colors for foreground and background, which can help other readers view the document easily. You can make these actions through tools that are available for accessible PDFs.
5. Alternative Text Descriptions Available for Non-Text Elements
Including images, graphs, lists, and other non-textual figures when creating a document helps you rely on information more effectively. Businesses usually use charts and graphs to make presentations and many factors in the company easier to visualize and understand, as well as to see the linear and visual progress of different business facets. However, these non-text elements may be inaccessible to others, especially those relying on text-to-speech. With this, accessible PDF provides the option for alternative text. It is a brief description of the element, with the essential details usually included. Some alternative readers are auto-generated, but the document’s author can also freely input their explanation into the alternative text. The feature makes the document accessible even to those with visual impairments or devices that may not be able to view or process these elements visually.
6. Keyboard Shortcuts And Alternatives To Mouse Actions
For accessible PDFs, keyboard commands are available for readers, especially those who find using a keyboard more accessible than a mouse. With a few keyboard shortcuts, you can do different shortcuts, controls, and functions with mouse clicks. The settings depend on what is in the document’s properties. This method usually saves more time by pressing on a single key rather than continuous scrolling through pages, as well as shortcuts for accessing features instead of step-by-step clicking through options.
Can You Convert Any PDF Into an Accessible PDF?
You can convert your PDFs into accessible PDFs, but keep in mind that there are changes that you need to modify afterward. Images in the document will go through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to provide alternative texts and other non-text elements. Tag trees should also be reviewed and revised to ensure they are in proper positions, including levels, headings, and order. Once the details and properties are in place, you can use and send them as an accessible PDF.
In running businesses, paperwork, keeping these documents in place, and accessing them can waste time, resources, and the workforce. PDFs are made available for moving into the technological bureau of your company’s files, but there are limitations to these files. Luckily, accessible PDFs are available, providing you with more features and making it easier for a broader range of readers to access the documents you provide. Also, accessible PDFs make promoting inclusivity in your business easier with their available tools. Accessible PDF is a vital file type you may not realize is highly beneficial for your business. It can allow you to make transactions easier and let your enterprise processes flow efficiently.