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Chapter 12. Toward More Accessible PDFs > Burdens of the Past: Legacy PDFs and ...

Burdens of the Past: Legacy PDFs and the Challenge of Accessibility

Acrobat 5 also includes facilities for converting older PDF documents—those created with earlier versions of Acrobat, including im-age-only PDFs created from scanned documents—to more accessible forms. This involves using the Make Accessible plug-in included on the Acrobat installation CD. Given the difficulty of what should have been a simple, straightforward procedure—changing a couple of elements from data cells to table headers—and given the lack of information afforded by the Accessibility Checker, attempting to improve the accessibility of older PDF documents on any kind of scale is a daunting task, time-consuming and expensive.

Acrobat’s built-in Accessibility Checker would be much more useful if it could point to specific locations that need attention, as Bobby and many other tools do when evaluating HTML documents; it would be helpful if it could indicate where there might be problems with reading order, as the WAVE does (see Chapter 7); and it would be even more valuable if it provided interactive tools for repairing the problems, in the style of A-Prompt. Then at least well-meaning individuals and organizations that were prepared to commit some time might know where to start.


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