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Basic Introduction to PDF/UA

The PDF/UA (PDF/Universal Accessibility) format is a subset of PDF designed to store any electronic documents in order that they be accessible to people utilizing assistive technologies. The PDF/UA specifications primarily target people with disabilities, such as the blind using text-to-speech screen readers. The PDF/UA format is developed, supported, and standardized by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management). In 2007 the International Organization for Standardization commenced PDF/UA review as an ISO standard.


PDF/UA is not meant to be a techniques (how to) specification, but rather a set of guidelines for creating accessible PDF. The components and their structure are highly dependent upon which objects (graphics, text, multimedia, form fields) are to be present in the PDF file. The specification will describe such components and the conditions governing their inclusion in a PDF file in order to be considered accessible for a particular document type. The mechanisms for including the components in the PDF stream will be left to the discretion of the individual developer, PDF generator, or PDF viewing agent.

About PDF Universal Accessibility Committee
This committee is developing a specification for accessible PDF. The Committee's goal is to set standards for PDF authoring such that conforming PDF files are accessible and usable to all, including those who use assistive technology. Click to learn more on AIIM's PDF/UA page.