Making Accessible PDFs

We strongly recommend authors to make their publication at MobileHCI accessible to promote equal access to people with disabilities. This note describes guidelines to create accessible PDFs. For more information please refer to Adobe's accessibility resource center.

How to create an accessible PDF?

To create accessible PDFs, please use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and follow the steps below. If you need any assistance or accommodation with accessibility, please contact the MobileHCI 2022 Accessibility Chairs at

  1. Open the accessibility tools: Accessibility tools is a hub where you can find a suite of tools to make your paper accessible. Here is how to open it:

    • Click the 'Tools' tab on the top menu of Acrobat Pro to open the tool page with all the tools supported by Adobe. Then go to 'Protect & Standardize' -> Accessibility. Click 'Add' to add accessibility tools as a shortcut to the sidebar on the right.
    • Click the 'Accessibility' icon to access a list of accessibility tools. You will see the accessibility tools panel to the right of your paper. accessPic1
  2. Document tags: Tags will provide metadata about the document structure. Please save your document first before generating the tags.

  • Click 'Autotag Document' from the accessibility tools panel to create auto tags.

  • A Recognition Report will be generated to the left of your paper.

  • !Important: Please scan your paper entirely to make sure that your paper structure is intact. Please stop and contact the accessibility chairs if your paper structure is changed because of the tagging. accessPic2

  • Select 'Reading Order' from the accessibility tools panel. The 'Reading Order' panel appears, and the paper is visually marked up to show the content detected on each page and the order it will be read.

  • Click 'Show Order Panel' on the 'Reading Order' window to see a list of marked content for each page on the left.

  • Skim through the pages.

    • Check if the reading order is correct. If not, you can use the reading order tool to identify and reorder the text on each page.
    • Make the paper title as 'Heading 1', and main heading as 'Heading 2', and the following levels as 'Heading 3', and so on.
    • Make sure all the figures have been marked as figures. If the caption is not included in the figure, drag over the figure and the caption and use the 'Figure/Caption' option in the 'Reading Order' panel. If the marked figure includes non-figure content, as in the example above, select the extra content and mark it as text/formula/table/etc using the options on the 'Reading Order' panel. In the example above, after marking the text in this way, the border of the figure is updated.Updated page markup for figure differs from the previous screenshot in that the text below the figure is no longer within the figure's border.
    • The border of the figure may appear larger than the figure itself. This is fine so long as the other items on the page are marked appropriately, as with the second column of text in the example.
    • Make sure all tables are identified as tables.
    • Close the 'Reading Order' panel. accessPic3


  1. Figure descriptions (Alt Text): Alt-Text is the accessible description of the figures and should contain sufficient information describing the image itself. Note that the alt-text should not be the same as captions, but provide additional information that describes the image. Check here for tips on how to write good alt-text:
    • Select an image from the order list on the left.
    • Double click the image to focus on it, and the image will be highlighted with a purple frame.
    • Right click the image to get a context menu. Select 'Edit Alternate Text'.
    • Type in image description in the pop-up window accessPic5



  1. Tables: Right-click on the table and select ‘Edit Table Summary' from the context menu. Add table description to the pop-up window.

  2. Title and Language:

    • Set title and language. Select File > Properties from the menu.
    • Select the Description tab. Fill the Title field with the document title.
    • Next, select the Initial View tab. In the 'Show' dropdown, select Document Title.
    • Next, select the Advanced tab. In the Reading Options section, select English from the Language dropdown menu. accessPic8
  3. Check accessibility: Run the 'Accessibility Check' to see if there are further accessibility issues in your document. Select 'Full Check' from the accessibility tools panel. The checker produces a report that provides help with fixing many accessibility problems. Saving the PDF in Acrobat should save the relevant accessibility data by default. No extra steps are necessary. accessPic9

Creating an accessible PDF directly from Word

The following link provides step-by-step instructions for adding basic accessibility information to a Word document on a PC, then exporting it to a PDF document intended for ACM: Create an accessible ACM submission using Microsoft Word.

Making Accessible Figures and Tables

  • Do not add your figures as a pdf. The tagging of figures that are in pdf can sometimes lead to undesired effects on the visual presentation. Instead, insert the image, for example, as png or svg.
  • Do not add your tables as images.
  • Give your tables lines/borders.This can facilitate the tagging of the document.

Other accessible PDF Tools

There are few free options that can be used to make accessible PDFs, here is a page for detailed instructions:

Creating Accessible Video Figures

Video figures, like papers, should be accessible. For videos to be accessible, include both audio narration (so that the contents of the video can be understood by someone with a visual impairment) as well as text captions (so that the video can be understood by someone who is deaf or hard of hearing). Text captions can be burned directly into the video as subtitles (preferred), or else closed-captioning metadata files (.srt, .ttml, *.vtt) can be uploaded as additional supplementary material.

Making Accessible Presentations

Presenters are responsible for making their presentations accessible to the diverse attendees at the conference. For instance, using high contrast text on the slides since there will be attendees in the audience who have low vision. As a resource to the accessibility and HCI community, Kyle Rector has prepared a wonderful and concise guide about how to make your presentation accessible, along with a video: Accessible Presentation Guide. Please ensure that your presentation incorporates the recommendations from this guide.


This document was last updated in July by the Accessibility Chairs at MobileHCI 2022. It was inherited from the accessibility recommendations at ASSETS 2022 and UIST 2022.

Accessibility Chairs

Portrait of Yuhang Zhao

Yuhang Zhao
University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Portrait of Huaishu Peng

Huaishu Peng
University of Maryland, College Park, USA