Create an accessible PDF in Microsoft Word

Before you begin

Before you make an accessible PDF from a Microsoft Word document, first make sure the Word document is accessible; see Run the accessibility checker in Microsoft Word.

Export a Word document to PDF

Once you have an accessible Word document, export it to a PDF in a way that preserves the accessibility features of the document. These features include the heading structure, alternate text for images, and the markup that identifies lists, tables, document language, and any other content relating to the document's accessibility.

Important:
Do not use Word's Print to PDF option, because this does not create accessible PDFs. Also, avoid using tables in Word documents that will be saved as PDFs, because tables in Word pose accessibility problems when converted to PDF.

Word 2016

Windows

To export a Word 2016 document to PDF using Windows:

  1. Click File, and then click Save as Adobe PDF.
  2. In the "Save Adobe PDF File As" window, in the "File name:" text box, enter a name for the PDF. Choose where you want to save the file.
  3. Click Options, and make sure Enable Accessibility and Reflow with tagged Adobe PDF is checked. Click OK.
  4. Click Save to save your file as a PDF.

Mac

To export a Word 2016 document to PDF on a Mac:

  1. Click File, and then click Save As....
  2. Type the file name in the "Save As" text box, and choose where you want to save the file.
  3. From the "File Format" drop-down menu, select PDF.
  4. Select Best for electronic distribution and accessibility (uses Microsoft online service). This ensures the PDF is tagged.
  5. Click Save.

Prior versions of Word

To create a PDF in Word 2013 or 2010 for Windows, or in Word 2011 for Mac, see Make an existing PDF file accessible.