Before discussing the accessibility of PDF files, it is important to distinguish between Adobe, Acrobat and PDF. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
- Adobe is a company; they are the creators of Acrobat.
- Acrobat is a tool for creating, editing and viewing PDF files.
- PDF is a format or type of document. It stands for Portable Document Format. The PDF format was created by Adobe.
The terms Adobe, Acrobat, and PDF are related in the same way as Microsoft, Word, and doc.
When people talk about "accessible" PDF files, they usually are referring to "tagged" PDF files, even though there is more to an accessible PDF than tags. PDF tags provide a hidden structured, textual representation of the PDF content that is presented to screen readers. They exist for accessibility purposes only and have no visible effect on the PDF file.
Acrobat and Accessibility
Although you can create accessible PDF files in several programs, Adobe Acrobat Professional is required to evaluate, repair, and enhance the accessibility of existing PDF files.