PDF Workshop


A steadily increasing number of PDF documents is published on the internet. Unfortunately, PDFs, without having especially prepared, aren't accessible and people with disabilities are unable to read som or all information within these PDF files.

The creation of fully accessible PDF documents is complicated and time consuming. The «Access for all» fundation offers some services to make creating accessible PDFs easier.


PDF Reader für SehbehindertePDF (Portable Document Format) is the most commonly used format in digital communication. PDF documents are offered countless times on websites and e-mails for download. However, for visually impaired persons who have to resort to text magnification and contrast enhancements on the display screen, PDF documents present an insurmountable challenge. The font is often too small and difficult to read and frequently in columns. When zooming in on the text, the user is forced to continuous horizontal scrolling. This lack of overview (that is to say the big picture is missing) causes loss of information.


With the new VIP-PDF-Reader, the foundation «Access for All», along with the Swiss Central Association for the Blind (SZB) and xyMedia have developed the assistive technology to make “accessible PDF” documents readable for the visually impaired. The «VIP-Reader» filters the text out of a tagged (also called accessible) PDF and displays it in a user-friendly space. You can magnify and contrast the text as you wish and it will automatically adjust to your screen. The logical reading sequence is kept while columns are displayed in sequence rather than beside each other. Images, logos, graphics and tables are shown as icons in their appropriate positions and can be opened and viewed in a new window.

Read more: VIP-PDF-Reader


Help us adapt the free NVDA screen reader to the new PDF/UA standard for universally accessible PDF!

Logos NV Access, PDF Association and Foundation Access for all

The PDF Association and Access for All are joining together to help NV Access add PDF/UA conformance to the free NVDA screen reader. The objective is to offer blind and low-vision computer users a better way to read and use accessible PDF documents on an equal basis with sighted users.

NVDA – the open source screen reader

NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free, portable open source screen reader that allows blind and visually impaired people to interact with and manage Windows, applications, web browsers and PDF documents.

NVDA provides synthetic speech output and supports eSpeak SAPI4 and SAPI5. While the user interface is available in German, English and French the application supports voices in many other languages. NVDA also supports screen readers utilizing a Braille display.

Braille Disply

PDF/UA - Standard for accessible PDF documents

What requirements must a PDF document meet to be considered fully accessible to persons with disabilities? PDF/UA (ISO 14289), to be published in the fall of 2012, delivers a clear answer to this question when it comes to electronic documents and forms.

It should be noted that PDF/UA is limited to the PDF file format itself and does not address all aspects of accessibility. PDF/UA does not replace WCAG 2.0. Organizations with an accessibility policy that includes WCAG 2.0 can use PDF/UA to help achieve WCAG 2.0 conformance in their PDF content.

NVDA needs more development to become PDF/UA conforming AT

NVDA development is led by NV Access, a non-profit providing NVDA at no charge. While NVDA already reads PDF documents, conformance with PDF/UA and the ability to deliver the full benefit of PDF/UA-conforming files to users requires additional development.

All NVDA development costs are funded through donations. We need your support to make sure NVDA goes PDF/UA!


Our goal is to make NVDA fully PDF/UA compliant such that it fully supports the potential of accessible PDF files. In close cooperation with the PDF Association and NV Access we will work with blind people to provide feedback to assist NV Access in implementing PDF/UA’s requirements.

To continue development of the free open source NVDA screen reader to conform to PDF/UA we need to raise at least CHF 100,000 in 2012.

Current status of donations as of October 5, 2012: CHF 10'000 out of 100,000

Join now

Help us enhance the free NVDA Screen Reader to support PDF/UA, support us with your donation!

As a company, organization or individual you can donate via PayPal or by bank transfer:

Per PayPal

Per Bank Transfer

Foundation "Access for All"
CH-8057 Zürich
PC: 85-710652-0
IBAN: CH96 0900 0000 8571 0652 0

Reason for payment: NVDA goes PDF/UA

Per invoice

We will send you an invoice with a wire transfer form to the amount of your desired donation. Please do not hesitate to contact us.


The Swiss Foundation "Access for All" is a recognized non-profit, tax-exempt organization. "Access for All" is a member of proFonds, the umbrella organization of charitable foundations in Switzerland.

We are happy to send you a donation receipt.

Every contribution counts!

  • Donate CHF 10 - or more: Thank you very much! Every donation is deeply appreciated.
  • Donate CHF 1,000 - or more. Each donation of CHF 1,000 is listed with organization or individual name.
  • Donate CHF 2,500 - or more. This should be seen! Each donation of CHF 2,500 is listed with name and link.
  • Donate CHF 10,000 - or more. You deserve a special place! For all donations over CHF 10,000 we publish the logo on our website.

We make your PDF documents accessible!

The foundation «Access for all» (Zugang für alle) provides creation of accessible PDF documents as an additional service.

Accessible PDFs must meet the following requirements:

  • Accessible output for screen readers (for blind people)
  • Text magnification with text reflow (for visually impaired people)
  • Device-independent display (mobile devices)
  • Text structure meeting the requirements for handling assistive technologies (casual search engine optimization)

    Read more: We make your PDF documents accessible!

Free PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 2)

Logo PDF Accessibility Checker

The PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 2), by the Swiss foundation 'Access for All' is the first tool allowing you to test PDF documents for compliance with the PDF/UA Standard. .

Download now New Release PAC 2 (7/9/2014)

Read more: Free PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 2)

Downloading PAC 2

System requirements PAC 2

The following system requirements have to be met:

New PAC 2 (version now available:

  • bug fixes
  • runs more stable

Download PAC 2 (version

Donate and help supporting and improving PAC

Download PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC), (ZIP, 12.7 MB)

Install PAC 2

You do not need to have administrative privileges to install this software. Just extract the contents of "pac_2_0_beta_en.zip" in a folder of your choice. Then, double-clicking "PDF Accessibility Checker 2.0.exe" will start the “PDF Accessibility Checker” application.

PAC 2 Manual

Quick Manual PAC (PDF, 689 KB)

More information

Please subscribe to our Newsletter and receive updates about PAC 2. Alternatively send us an email with your first name, last name and your email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


PDF technology is a rich and complex architecture to represent documents; PDF/UA reflects that richness and specifies how content in PDF is made accessible to users with disabilities. From reading order to fonts, PDF/UA specifies precise conditions that must be present in order for page content, form-fields, annotations, metadata and other elements of PDF files to be expressly and reliably accessible to users who depend on specialized tools and features to read and interact with electronic content.

The Matterhorn Protocol (PDF, 694 KB) is designed to foster adoption of PDF/UA by providing a set of 31 Checkpoints and 136 Failure Conditions that help software developers exchange detailed information on PDF/UA conformance and create software to make it easier for document authors to create fully accessible PDF files and forms.

Each Checkpoint represents a discrete area of conformance requirements, such as “Declared natural language” or “Metadata”. Each Failure Condition defines a specific test for a given Document, Page, Object or JavaScript. Each Failure Condition may be evaluated by either machine (a computer) alone, or requires a human.

PDF Association

Founded in 2006 as the PDF/A Competence Center, the PDF Association exists to promote the adoption and implementation of International Standards for PDF technology. Developers use the PDF Association to share knowledge and experience with PDF technology. Decision-makers use the PDF Association to learn about the role and capabilities of PDF and PDF’s subset standards in ECM and other electronic document applications. End-users benefit from improved reliability, quality and functionality and interoperability in their experience of electronic documents.

More on PDF Association

PAC 2 - Terms of use

PAC is a free tool by the «Access for all» Foundation to evaluate the accessibility of PDF documents and PDF forms and is used to support testing conducted by experts and end users. This license agreement covers PAC – PDF Accessibility Checker. By installing, copying or otherwise using the application, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Licensing terms and conditions PAC (german version, PDF, 256 KB)

Older Version

PDF Accessibility Checker 1.3 (ZIP, 583 KB)

Additional information