Adding Alt Text to PDF Images

Here is a step-by-step guide for adding alt text to a PDF's images.

Step One

Open PDF in Adobe Acrobat.

Step Two

On the right side of the window click the purple icon that looks like a piece of paper with a checkbox in the middle. That is the Action Wizard.

Step Three

Click on the ‘Make Accessible” option.

Step Four

Click on the ’Set Alternate Text’ options.

Step Five

When the alert box opens click the orange ‘OK’ button.

Step Six

Now that the ’Set Alternate Text’ popup has opened you can set alt text on every image that doesn’t have it. Once you type the text in the white box if there are images left to go through you will be able to click the right arrow button to move on to the next image. If the image is just decorative, like a logo or clipart, you can just check off the ‘Decorative figure’ option. Once you have gone through all the available images click the orange ’Save & Close’ button.

Step Seven

Now that you are done the only thing left to do is to click the first icon under Home that looks like a floppy disk, if you remember what those are. This will save the changes you have made.

That's It! Your Images Now Have Alt Text!

If you have followed these steps one by one you will now have a PDF which is ADA compliant in regards to the alt text on images. After our Zoom tutorial I wrote you manual directions on how to do the entire process of making a PDF ADA compliant. I will include that text below for reference.

Here is a rough breakdown of the steps taken to clean up this one particular PDF. The majority of these steps are the same for every PDF and you can use this as general directions and for reference when trying to process a PDF yourself.

1. Open PDF in Adobe Acrobat
2. On right side, click on “Action Wizard” (purple icon of a checkmark inside a rectangle)
3. Under “Actions List” click on “Make Accessible”
4. Under “Make Accessible” click “Start” (big blue button)

First screen is Description
	1. Make sure PDF has Title, Subject, Author and tags (at least 3-10 is recommended)

Second screen is Recognize Text
	1. Make sure Document Language is English, Output is Searchable Image and Downsample to is the highest number possible (600 dpi)

Third screen is to check for form fields. These are for PDFs that have fields to be filled in, like name, address, etc. Typically this isn’t the case and you can click “No, Skip this Step”

Fourth screen is Set Reading Language, select English

Fifth screen is for checking all images for Alternate Text tags (alt tags). Click “OK”
	1. Now go through every image and add text for screen readers. If the image is just decorative and doesn’t pass information to the user you can check of “Decorative figure” and move to the next

Sixth page is another automatic “Accessibility Checker Options” which will check for structural problems. Click “Start Checking”

After running that checker a menu will show on the left that will list any issues it as found. Go through the list and try to resolve any issues you can while ignoring automatic checks that aren’t necessary.
	1. Logical Reading Order - makes sure the document is either in top to bottom order or has page numbers. Sometimes a PDF will be one random page after another, in which case having page numbers will help automatic screen readers. 
	2. Color contrast - makes sure text colors are different enough from background colors that they don’t blur together. People with color blindness or automatic screen readers can get confused and things will blend together unless the contrast is different enough.
	3.Tagged Annotations - sometimes link are added to the document so you can click and jump to another page. If they are, they need to have Title tags.
	4. Tables > Headers - Failed - Tables typically have a top header row describing what is inside each column but tables are also used for structuring content. Most of the time this is just an automatic check not finding headers when they aren’t required.