[Athen] Accessible PDF Forms

Sean J Keegan skeegan at stanford.edu
Tue Dec 11 17:02:45 PST 2012

> To create accessible PDF forms are you all using Adobe
> Acrobat Pro? If not, what tool(s) do you recommend?

I generally prefer to use Adobe's Livecycle Designer to create fillable
(and accessible!) PDF forms. It is only available on the Windows
platform and installs automatically when you install Adobe Acrobat Pro.

You can import previously created PDF documents into Livecycle Designer
to begin adding form fields, but this is a bit of a pain (IMO). The
real benefit to using Livecycle Designer is that you can create an
accessible PDF document with form fields and then if it needs to be
updated in 6 months, you just open the document up in LD and make the
edits. No need to go back to the MS Word version and then export a
tagged PDF and then add form fields and then check accessibility and
then...well, you get the idea.

I have attached an older training manual I put together a few years ago
that covers PDF accessibility as well as LiveCycle Designer ver. 8.2.
It's not the most current, but should be a good working reference point.
Here is also the web URL:

There are pros and cons, but using LD for form development is MUCH
easier than Adobe Acrobat and it also allows for simplicity when you
need to make any edits to the PDF document.

Take care,

Sean Keegan
Associate Director, Assistive Technology
Office of Accessible Education - Stanford University
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