Accessible Technology

Creating Accessible Documents

When creating content, there are a few basic steps that should be followed in order to assure your content is accessible. The core steps needed for accessibility are the same regardless of whether your document is in HTML, Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or another document format:

  • Use headings
  • Use lists
  • Use meaningful hyperlinks
  • Add alternate text to images
  • Identify document language
  • Use tables wisely
  • Understand how to export from one format to another

To gain a better understanding of these core issues, see our Overview of Accessible Documents.

To apply each of these concepts to a particular document format or authoring workflow, select one of the following topics:

Creating High Quality Scanned Documents

Sometimes it is necessary to scan a document for an instructional need. When documents are in electronic form, they are easier to distribute and can be more accessible than print documents for students with disabilities. However, in order to be fully accessible, certain steps must be followed to be sure the scanned document is of high quality. Even if a document is not needed for a person with disability, a poor scan often negatively impacts the end user’s experience. For details, see Creating High Quality Scans.

Using the UW Document Conversion Service

The UW now offers an online Document Conversion Service to help students, faculty, and staff at the University of Washington to produce alternative versions of documents quickly and easily. The service is free to anyone with a UW NetID, and can be accessed at

Please note the following limitations of this service:

  • The source file needs to be of good quality in order to maximize conversion accuracy.
  • Some file outputs may require additional editing after conversion.
  • This service is intended to provide a quick temporary solution, but is not the final solution for accessibility. For faculty and staff who are producing documents, please consult the above links for information on how to create accessible documents in various document formats.
  • Students requesting alternate materials as an accommodation, please contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS).

UW-IT PDF Remediation Service

Accessible Technology Services (ATS) will remediate a limited number of PDF documents through a service supported by UW-IT. Individuals, departments, and other units at the UW are encouraged to apply to remediate highly visible, high-impact, multiple use, and/or strategic PDF documents. Examples include:

  • PDF documents available to the public on a high-use website
  • PDF documents that will be used multiple times in a course
  • PDF documents developed by several faculty members to be used in several different classes

If you are interested in submitting one or more documents for consideration, please complete the UW PDF Document Remediation Service Application.

Eligibility: Any UW faculty, staff, or student is eligible to apply for accessibility remediation of one or more PDFs as long as the PDFs are owned/authored by the UW. Highest priority are PDFs that have a high impact (as defined above).

Note: If PDF documents are required for students who have a documented print disability (e.g., students with specific learning disabilities or visual disabilities), please contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS). DRS provides free remediation services for individual student accommodations.

ATS is available to provide technical support or training to UW faculty and staff who wish to create accessible electronic documents and otherwise make IT accessible. Contact Gaby de Jongh at for assistance.

Outsourcing PDF Remediation

Open Access Technologies (OAT) provides document remediation services at prices and turnaround times that seem to be a good match for higher education institutions. Contact vendor for a quote:

Glenn Gross, Director Account Management
(904) 742-6019