[Athen] Mac/Accessible PDF compatibility

Madeleine Rothberg madeleine_rothberg at wgbh.org
Tue Nov 17 07:37:46 PST 2015

Evalyne and everyone,

Accessibility of PDFs on the Mac varies. We've noticed that VO now does a fair job with PDFs in Acrobat Pro DC (which is the newest version). It isn't great, but it's better than previous versions. VO with Adobe *Reader* is terrible: it won't read much if any text. VO will usually read PDF text in Preview, but it won't convey structure. For some purposes, that might be fine. What some people do with PDFs on the Mac is open in Reader and save as text, then read that with VO, as a workaround.

So it is possible that the vendor created an accessible PDF, which will work well on Windows but not on Mac.


Madeleine Rothberg
Senior Subject Matter Expert
National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH
madeleine_rothberg at wgbh.org

From: <McInnish>, "Evalyne M. (MU-Student)" <emmth9 at mail.missouri.edu<mailto:emmth9 at mail.missouri.edu>>
Reply-To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 11:06 AM
To: "athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>" <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] Mac/Accessible PDF compatibility

Dear colleagues,

Could anyone speak to the current status of compatibility between Macintosh computers running VoiceOver and accessible PDFs? Our team has been requested to test a PDF for accessibility and were specifically requested to test on both Windows and Mac with screen reader software. The PDF was created by an outside company who claim the PDF is accessible, but we had a great deal of trouble when we tested it with VoiceOver, both in Preview and Adobe Reader. Any and all information about the current compatibility between Macs and accessible PDFs is greatly appreciated. If you prefer, you may contact me directly at emmth9 at mail.missouri.edu<mailto:emmth9 at mail.missouri.edu>. Thank you for your assistance.

Best Wishes,

Evalyne McInnish
M.A. Student-Library Sciences
Graduate Research Assistant, ACT Center
University of Missouri
email<mailto:emmth9 at mail.missouri.edu>

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