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PDF standards make the world work




NewFormat makes information permanently
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Our solutions are based on
tested, reliable, and highly accessible software solutions.




PDF/UA Foundation - Logo

Since August 2021 the PDF/UA Foundation, Ontario, Canada, is
"The New Home of PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC)"!

Mission:
Building the future of document accessibility

Document accessibility is a crucial
but often forgotten part of an inclusive web.

The PDF/UA Foundation is committed to ensuring
the best end-user experience for the most widely used
document format (PDF) in the world and contributing to
the future of document accessibility.

PDF/UA Foundation makes free end-user tools available,
promoting document accessibility, and building up a
network of engaged organizations.




Accessibility - Icon

Accessible PDF




PDF/UA Foundation - PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Banner

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC)

The freeware program from The PDF/UA Foundation
provides a quick way to test the accessibility of
PDF documents and forms according to
the ISO Standard 14289-1 for universally accessible PDF,
also known as PDF/UA.

The new PAC 2021 also validates PDF documents for compliance with
the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, level AA!

PAC supports both experts/testers as well as end users
conducting PDF accessibility evaluations.





PAC 2021 Operator Dashboard

PDF/UA Foundation - PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Operator Dashboard/User Pane - Picture

(Copyright by PDF/UA Foundation)


    PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Overview

    Main features:

    • PAC is freeware and both "PDF/UA-Ready" and "WCAG-Ready"!

    • Intuitive user interface that makes it easy to
      check documents for accessibility compliance

    • PDF/UA-1 check with all machine-testable checkpoints
      of the matterhorn protocol

    • WCAG check with all machine-testable checkpoints of
      the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA

    • Colourful screenreader preview for evaluating
      the logical document structure visually

    • View of the tag tree with all properties and attributes

    • Built-in Colour Contrast Checker.
    • PAC contains a built-in checker that automatically
      evaluates colour contrast between any
      text elements and the background.

      (WCAG Success Criterion 1.4.3 states that any text
      or images of text need to have a contrast ratio
      between the text and its background of 4.5:1)


    • Statistics concerning the document structure

    • Providing both a summary view and in-depth report
      on compliance issues within PDF-documents

    • Printable summary report



For professional use we recommend axesPDF
which is the enhanced professional implementation of PAC.

axesPDF can, besides validation, also remediate PDF files
to comply with PDF/UA-1 (ISO 14289-1), WCAG 2.1, and U.S. Section 508.

axesPDF - Logo with text






Products


PDF/UA Foundation - PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Banner

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC)
tests the compliance with PDF/UA and WCAG
for digitally accessible PDF documents




Download - Icon

Free Download of PDF Accessibility Checker

Click Here to download PDF Accessibility Checker



PAC 2021 Manuals / User Guides


PDF/UA Foundation - PDF Accessibility Checker 2021 (PAC 2021) - User Guide - Picture

PDF Accessibility Checker 2021 - User Guide (.pdf)



System Requirements:

    Supported operating system:

    • Windows 8.1 Service Pack (SP) 1

    • Windows 10

    Additional requirements:

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.8 or higher

    Hardware requirements:

    • RAM
      • Minimum: 8 GB

      • Recommended: 16 GB or more

    The PAC user interface is available in
    Danish, English, French, German, and Spanish.




PAC - The user interface at a glance

PDF/UA Foundation - PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - User Interface Overview - Picture

    PAC Program Interface

    1. Drag & Drop Area (1)
    2. The PDF file to be checked is dragged and dropped onto
      this button area; alternatively, the button can be activated
      to upload the document of choice via the file system to the PAC.

      After one or the other action,
      the test procedure is started immediately.


    3. Document Properties for the selected PDF document (2)
    4. The upper part of the user interface displays core data
      for the checked PDF document:
      title of the document, file name, (main) language of the document,
      number of tags, number of pages and file size.


    5. Summary Report (3)
    6. The summary report shows an overview of the validation results
      for each checkpoint, with the associated results organized into
      "Passed", "Warned", or "Failed".


      You can choose to view the results for either

      • the PDF/UA validation (first tab marked "PDF/UA"), or

      • the WCAG validation (second tab marked "WCAG")

      The conclusion of the completed examination procedure
      is displayed first.

      If the audited criteria meet the requirements of PDF/UA,
      the conclusion is:

      • "The PDF/UA requirements checked by PAC are fulfilled",

      and in the opposite case:

      • "This PDF file is not PDF/UA compliant".

      If the audited criteria meet the requirements of WCAG,
      the conclusion is:

      • "The WCAG 2.1 requirements checked by PAC are fulfilled",

      and in the opposite case:

      • "This PDF file is not WCAG 2.1 compliant".

      The results of the test procedure are then presented
      below in a tabular overview with four columns.

      In the first column ("Checkpoints"),
      the eleven PDF/UA / the thirteen WCAG checkpoints are named,
      each of which summarizes the result for several individual test criteria.

      The second column ("Pass") documents the number of
      verified and validated occurrences of a given checkpoint.

      The third column ("Warning") gives the number of warnings.
      In these cases a closer analysis is indicated.

      Finally, the fourth column ("Failed") names the number of cases
      that violated the PDF/UA standard or the WCAG guidelines.


    1. PDF Report (4)
    2. The overview table described above is
      exported as a barrier-free PDF file.


    3. Results in Detail (5)
    4. Using the detailed report, you can analyze and locate
      the individual errors (checkpoints) in the document.

      You can expand items in the Title list to view test details
      for individual checkpoints.

      When you click an error in the list, details about the error are
      displayed in the top-right pane, and the location of the error
      in the document is displayed in the lower-right pane.


    5. Logical Structure (6)
    6. The logical structure shows the complete structure tree
      for the PDF document.

      You can also view the properties for each tag,
      the associated role maps, or the associated page
      with the selected content highlighted.

      With "rolemapping" one can assign and change
      the various styles used for objects in a document.


    7. Screen Reader Preview (7)
    8. Screen reader preview allows to view a simplified structure of
      the PDF to quickly assess the quality of the assigned tags and
      to review the sequential logical reading order of the document.


    9. Document Statistics (8)
    10. The document statistics provides an overview of
      the structural elements ("tags") used in the PDF document,
      as well as the count for each type of tag.
      This information helps you evaluate the document semantics.


    11. About (9)
    12. Shows the version number of the PAC software that you
      are using and allows for access to additional information.
      The "More Information button" opens the PDF/UA Foundation website
      where you can find additional information.




Accessibility and Compliance Standards and Guidelines



Accessible PDF

PDF/UA - Icon

    General information on the PDF/UA standard
    for universally accessible PDF documents


    PDF standards

    PAC checks the compliance of existing PDF documents
    with the PDF/UA standard.

    PDF/UA specifies how the underlying PDF standard
    must be applied to generate accessible PDF documents.


    The Matterhorn Protocol

    The purpose of the the Matterhorn Protocol is to
    promote the adoption of the PDF/UA standard.

    It defines a set of test criteria that allow PDF documents
    to be checked for compliance with the PDF/UA standard.

    PDF/UA conformance requires validation of both syntax and semantic.

    It should be noted that the Matterhorn Protocol contains,
    in addition to automatically verifiable criteria,
    those that rely on human judgment for validation.

    The Matterhorn Protocol specifies a common set of
    31 "Checkpoints" with 136 failure conditions, whereof

    • 108 failure conditions can be checked by the PAC software, and

    • while other failure conditions require human judgment.

    The PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) is "PDF/UA-Ready" Freeware

    PAC is based on the Matterhorn Protocol and uses the protocol
    to analyze the accessibility and inaccessibility of existing PDF documents,
    but the implemented checks don't have a 1:1 mapping with
    the Matterhorn Protocol.

    While Matterhorn only has one checkpoint for appropriate tagging,
    PAC executes a check for every single type of structure element.

    Based on this, PAC automatically checks 108 verifiable criteria.
    This can be used to detect whether a PDF document complies
    with the PDF/UA standard according to these criteria.

    Note! Naturally, PAC can not take account of those PDF/UA
    test criteria in which a judgmental assessment of a matter
    by a human being must be made
    .


    PAC supports anyone who wants or need to
    create accessible PDF documents.

    A quick test procedure generates an analysis overview and detail report.
    The latter locates the offending errors in the document.

    To document, print or easily pass the results on to third parties,
    PAC can export the overview report into an accessible PDF document.


    PDF/UA Foundation - PAC PDF/UA Check - Correct - The PDF/UA Requirements Checked by PAC Are Fulfilled - Accessible PDF - Banner

    The success message above is shown by PAC when a PDF document
    meets the syntactic requirements of the ISO standard PDF/UA.

    Zero errors means that the document is only technically barrier-free.

    It remains to verify that the document is also semantically correct.

    When this requirement is also successful it remains to be tested whether
    the document meets WCAG's other applicable success criteria.

    When even those requirements are met, the document can be published
    as a digitally accessible PDF for everyone on the entity's websites.


    PDF/UA Foundation - PAC PDF/UA Check - Error - This PDF File Is Not PDF/UA Compliant - Not An Accessible PDF - Banner

    The error message above is shown by PAC when a PDF document lacks
    proper internal structure tagging, which all Assistive Technology (AT) devices
    (such as screen readers, PDF readers) depend entirely on to accurately
    reproduce the contents of a PDF document.

    Such a PDF document is thus syntacticly not correct,
    thus not digitally accessible for everyone.

    Recommended action:
    Do not publish the document on public facing websites.
    Do not accept the document, return it to responsible instance
    for remediation - Re-do it, do it right!


    PDF/UA Foundation - PAC PDF/UA Check - Warning - Possible Issue. This PDF File Is Not PDF/UA Compliant - Not An Accessible PDF - Icon

    Warning message filed by PAC PDF/UA Check
    on detected possible PDF/UA issue.
    Review the content and make any necessary corrections!


    If your PDF document does not pass the PDF/UA validation:


    Check your own PDF files with PAC for compliance with PDF/UA:




Accessible Web Sites

W3C/WAI - Icon

    General information on W3C/WAI/WCAG recommendations
    for universally accessible websites


    W3C/WCAG recommendations

    The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) are
    the internationally recognized guidelines for accessible websites.

    Many national or supranational regulations (eg at EU level)
    on the accessibility of websites refer to WCAG 2.0/2.1.

    Electronic documents, like PDFs, provided for download
    from a website are also covered by WCAG 2.1 per se and
    must meet the applicable success criteria to comply with
    WCAG 2.1 (Level A, AA or AAA).

    Note! The technical implementation of accessible PDF
    requires however the PDF/UA standard, not the WCAG.


    PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) is "WCAG-Ready" freeware

    WCAG's recommendations are mainly developed for
    implementation of universal design for accessible websites.

    PAC can test WCAG's recommendations applicable
    for website information based on PDF-technology
    (only a small part of WCAG's recommendations are
    applicable for PDF documents).

    Note! Naturally, PAC can not take account of those WCAG
    test criteria in which a judgmental assessment of a matter
    by a human being must be made
    .


    PDF/UA Foundation - PAC WCAG Check - Correct - The WCAG Requirements Checked by PAC Are Fulfilled - Accessible PDF - Banner

    The above message is displayed by PAC when a PDF document
    meets the applicable WCAG success criteria which can be tested
    automatically by software.

    It remains to be tested whether the document meets
    WCAG's other success criteria.
    When even those requirements are met, and that the document
    complies with the PDFU/A standard, the document can be
    published as an accessible PDF on the entity's websites.


    PDF/UA Foundation - PAC WCAG Check - Error - The PDF File Is Not WCAG Compliant - Not An Accessible PDF - Banner

    The above error message is displayed by the PAC when a
    PDF document does not comply with one or more applicable
    WCAG success criteria which can be tested automatically by software.

    Such a PDF document is not accessible for everyone.

    Recommended action:
    Do not publish the document on public facing websites.
    Do not accept the document, return it to responsible instance
    for remediation - Re-do it, do it right!


    PDF/UA Foundation - PAC WCAG Check - Warning - Possible Issue. This PDF File Is Not WCAG Compliant - Not An Accessible PDF - Icon

    Warning message filed by PAC WCAG Check
    on detected possible WCAG issue.
    Review the content and make any necessary corrections!


    If your PDF document does not pass the WCAG validation:


    Check your own PDF files with PAC for compliance with WCAG:




PAC Quick-Test

Quick test with PAC for compliance of PDF document
with both PDF/UA and WCAG


    What is the quick test?

    • Quick test of a PDF document for accessibility

    • The test can be performed by anyone with free test tools

    • This is a first assessment (tendency) of whether a
      PDF document meets the accessibility requirements of
      PDF/UA and applicable success criteria of WCAG

    • First assessment of the semantics of the document

    • As an accessibility tester/examiner, you get better and
      faster the more often you undertake the quick test

    What is the quick test not?

    • Final and definitive statement on conformity of a document
      with tillgänglighetstandarder PDF/UA, BITV or WCAG

    • The ultimate testing tool for accessibility experts

    • Scientifically performed field test

    • Final and definitive quality assurance

    • 100% statement on the accessibility of a PDF document


    How do you proceed?

    Automatic PDF/UA and WCAG check with PAC
    1. Download PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) free test tool


    2. Check your own PDF document with PAC

    3. Evaluate test results (see typical samples below)



    Evaluating test results:

    When PDF Accessibility Checker is finished testing your file,
    you can review the results in several ways:

    • Summary report

    • Detailed report

    • Screen reader preview

    • Document statistics

    • Logical structure - Structure elements

    • Logical structure - Decorative elements

    When reviewing the results,
    it is important to remember that PAC focuses on
    the technical aspects of the PDF document;
    this applies to both the PDF/UA and the WCAG validation.

    Many of the accessibility checkpoints for PDF/UA and WCAG
    require additional visual or manual inspection to ensure
    that the PDF document is compliant.




    Figure 1 to 4 below, shows examples of the PDF/UA and the WCAG
    validation results in "the Summary Report Area":


Positive PDF/UA Check - File is compliant with PDF/A

Click on "PDF/UA tab"

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - PAC approved - PDF/UA requirements are met - Picture

Figure 1: PAC Report for PDF document
where PDF/UA requirements are met



Positive WCAG Check - File is compliant with WCAG success criteria

Click on "WCAG tab"

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - PAC approved - WCAG requirements are met - Picture

Figure 2: PAC Report for PDF document
where WCAG requirements are met



Negative PDF/UA Check - File is not compliant with PDF/UA

Click on "PDF/UA tab"

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - PDF/UA requirements are not met - Picture

Figure 3: PAC Report for PDF document
where PDF/UA requirements are not met



Negative WCAG Check - File is not compliant with WCAG success criteria

Click on "WCAG tab"

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - WCAG requirements are not met - Picture

Figure 4: PAC Report for PDF document
where WCAG requirements are met




    Examine detailed results

    Results in Detail
    1. Click on button "Results in Detail"

    2. The Detailed Report window opens and displays a list of
      approved / not approved PDF/UA and WCAG checkpoints

    3. For each item / checkpoint in the list,
      the corresponding status and item count is displayed

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Results in Details - PDF/UA and WCAG requirements are likely met - Picture

Figure 5: PAC Detailed Report for PDF document
which technically meets the PDF / UA and WCAG requirements



    1. Click an error in the list in the left pane

    2. The detailed error message is displayed in the top-right pane,
      and the associated page is displayed in the bottom-right

    3. You can use this detailed report to locate and analyze
      each error in the document

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Result in Details - PDF/UA and WCAG requirements are not met - Picture

Figure 6: PAC Detailed Report for a PDF document
that is not PDF/UA nor WCAG compliant

The performed PDF/UA check reports i.a. the following errors:
"Logical Structure - Structure Elements, Tables:
The header cell of the table does not have associated subcells"



    Check of Color Contrast

    Color contrast results:

    1. Click on button "Results in Detail"

    2. Click checkpoint "WCAG"

    3. Click checkpoint "Success Criteria: 1. Perceivable"

    4. Click checkpoint "Success Criteria: 1.4 Distinguishable"

    5. Click checkpoint "Success Criteria: 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum)"

    6. Click checkpoint "Success Criteria: Contrast of Text"

Text with insufficient contrast

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Results in Details - PDF/UA and WCAG requirements are not met - Picture

Figure 7: PAC Detailed Report for PDF document
that is not WCAG compliant due to insufficient text contrast:
"Text with insufficient contrast"




    Visually check the document internal structures
    Screen Reader Preview

    The Screen Reader Preview feature in PAC is used to perform a
    quick, visual check of the internal structure of a PDF document.

    1. Click "Screen Reader Preview" button

    2. It displays a simplified structure of the document;
      a visual representation of the internal document structure
      that a screen reader will “see” as it reads the page
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Screen Reader Preview of PDF Document Structure, Sample 1 - Picture

Figure 8: PAC Screen Reader Preview of
PDF document's internal structure, sample 1


PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Screen Reader Preview of PDF Document Structure, Sample 2 - Picture

Figure 9: PAC Screen Reader Preview of
PDF document's internal structure, sample 2




    Quick look at the statistics of the PDF document
    Document Statistics
    1. Click on "Document Statistics" button

    2. The list opens in a separate window and
      shows the count for each type of element

    3. Review the document statistics
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Document Statistics - Most Likely a PDF/UA Compliant PDF Document - Picture

Figure 10: Document Statistics window for a PDF/UA compliant document

    The statistics in Figure 10 above shows that (among other things)
    the following tagged elements are present in the document:

    • Headings of levels 1 (H1) and 2 (H2)

    •     
    • Pictures and captions (Figure, Caption)

    •     
    • Lists (L, Lbl, LBody)

    •     
    • Paragraphs (P) / Text

    •     
    • Table of Contents (TOC, TOCI)

    • ...

    This indicates that the most important elements are present
    and it is likely a well-tagged document.


    1. To filter the items listed in Figure 10,
      hover over the "Count" heading and click the "Filter" icon

    2. Click "Clear Filter" button
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Document Statistics - Action: Numeric Filterin - Picture

Figure 11: Document Statistics - Action: Numeric Filtering


    Document Statistics can easily show missing tags;
    thus a completely untagged and inaccessible PDF

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Document Statistics - No Tags Attached - Not PDF/UA Compliant PDF Document - Not accessible PDF - Picture

Figure 12 shows document statistics for a PDF document with
no headings, no table of contents, no captions, no paragraphs,....

The document is completely untagged!
This does not support a structured document.
The PDF document is not PDF/UA compliant;
thus a completely inaccessible PDF!




    Examine The Detailed Structure
    Logical Structure - Structure Elements

    Use the "Logical Structure" view in PAC to perform a more
    detailed analysis of the document's internal structure

    1. To see the complete structure of the PDF document in
      the form of a tag tree, click "Logical Structure" button

    2. The Logical Structure window opens,
      the tag tree is displayed in the left pane

    3. To view the properties for a specific tag,
      in the left pane, navigate to and click the tag

    4. The Properties for the chosen tag are displayed
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Logical Structure - Structure Elements - Tag Tree - Properties - Picture

Figure 13: Logical Structure - Structure Elements - Tag Tree - Properties

Use this view to ensure that the properties are correct


    Show "Page View"

    1. In the right pane, click "Page View" tab

    2. The Page View windows opens in the right pane
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Logical Structure - Structure Elements - Tag Tree - Page View - Picture

Figure 14: Logical Structure - Structure Elements - Page View

You can use this view to determine if the structural elements
in the tag tree and the visual logical reading order match


    Show "Rolemap"

    1. Click on "Rolemap" tab, in the right pane

    2. The Rolemap windows opens in the right pane
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Logical Structure - Structure Elements - Tag Tree - Rolemap - Picture

Figure 15: Logical Structure - Structure Elements - Rolemap

You can use this view to ensure that
the role assignments in the document are correct




    Examine The Detailed Structure
    Logical Structure - Decorative Elements
    View decorative elements

    In an accessible PDF document, images and graphics that
    add no detail to the information are marked as decorative.
    In the document structure, these elements are marked as Artifacts.

    1. To do a quick visual check of all the structure elements
      in your PDF document that are marked as decorative,
      click "Logical Structure" button

    2. Click the "Artifacts" tag in the left window pane

    3. In the list under the "Structure Elements" tab,
      expand a page by clicking on a page icon and
      click on an artifact

    4. Information about the properties is displayed in the right pane
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Logical Structure - Decorative Elements - Artifacts - Properties - Picture

Figure 16: Logical Structure - Decorative Elements / Artifacts - Properties


    View information about the decorative element / artifact in Page View

    1. Click the "Page View" tag in the right window pane
PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Logical Structure - Decorative Elements - Artifacts - Page View - Picture

Figure 17: Logical Structure - Decorative Elements / Artifacts - Page View

Logotypes are regarded as decorative elements
that shall be marked as "Artifacts"




    Exporting the PAC Test Results
    PDF Export

    The PAC test results can be exported as
    proof of the quality of the PDF document

    The PDF export feature is especially useful for service providers;
    they can generate the report as proof that their work has been done
    in compliance with accessibility standards and recommendations,
    PDF/UA and WCAG


    To export the Summary Test Report to an accessible PDF:

    1. Click on the "PDF Report" button

    2. In the "Export PDF Report" dialog box, enter a file name and
      choose the location where you want to save the file

    3. Click the "Save" button

    An accessible PDF file of the test results is generated
    and opens in your default PDF reader:

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Exported PDF/UA Test Report - Accessible PDF File - Picture

Figure 18: PAC Exported PDF/UA Test Report
(The report itself is compliant with PDF/UA-1)




PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Exported WCAG Test Report - Accessible PDF File - Picture

Figure 19: PAC Exported WCAG Test Report

(The report itself is compliant with WCAG 2.1 AA)





    As indicated above:

    The PAC Quick Test is a first assessment (tendency) of whether
    a PDF document meets the accessibility requirements of PDF/UA
    and applicable success criterial of WCAG.

    Should your PDF files fail to pass the PAC Quick Test above,
    they need to be immediately remediated before they can be published.

    Then feel free to see our comprehensive list of recommended
    software tools and services to tag, create, validate and remediate
    PDF files for compliance with PDF/UA and WCAG.


    Or:




For more information contact NewFormat


NewFormat AB
Smörblommegränd 14, SE-165 72 Hässelby (Stockholm), Sweden
tel:+46 (0)70 631 53 01

All content © copyright 2008-2021 NewFormat AB. All rights reserved.
All product names, trademarks and registered trademarks
are property of their respective owners.



PDF/UA Foundation - PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Banner