Accessibility Tip of the Week: Exporting to PDF

Container ship being loadedThis week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about exporting documents to PDF. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

When publishing attachments to the web, it is recommended to use the PDF file type. PDFs are preferred as they do not place a burden on the end-user to own a specific software suite, they retain formatting across devices and they contain many built-in accessibility features.

Documents are generally created within an authoring tool such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs and then exported to PDF. Microsoft Office users can export an accessible PDF by simply changing the document’s file type while saving. Google Docs users can use Grackle to generate accessible PDFs.

Whatever the authoring tool, it is recommended to keep the original document available in case of future revisions. Revising a Word or Docs document is significantly easier than revising a PDF.

Microsoft Office Users – Saving as PDF

  1. Create an accessible document in Word or PowerPoint. Guides for these software suites can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.
  2. Go to File > Save As.
  3. At the bottom of the Save As menu, select the File Format field.
  4. Select PDF.
  5. If given the option, select “Best for electronic distribution.”
  6. Click save.

Google Docs Users – Saving as PDF

Google Docs users are encouraged to install and use Grackle. Grackle acts as both an accessibility checker and a means for exporting accessible PDFs.

To install Grackle:

  1. Open a Google Docs document.
  2. Go to Add-ons > Get Add-ons.
  3. Search for ‘Grackle Docs,’ and then select Grackle Docs.
  4. Select Install.

To Run Grackle:

  1. In your Google Docs document, go to Add-ons > Grackle Docs > Launch.
  2. Grackle will open on the right side of the screen. Accessibility errors should be corrected as appropriate. A guide covering Google Docs accessibility and Grackle errors can be found on the district’s Website Accessibility Resources page.
  3. Select Re-Check to rescan your document for issues as necessary.

Exporting a PDF from Grackle:

  1. Once all accessibility checks are complete, select Export to PDF.
  2. On the Progress Monitor menu, leave the settings as the defaults and select Start. An email will be sent to you containing your accessible PDF.

If you have any questions about these processes, or accessibility in general, feel free to reach out to Robert Hardy (x6105) for assistance.