Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Course & Subject Guides

Electronic Theses and Dissertations Support Guide

Accessibility in your ETD

The University of Pittsburgh supports all efforts that we can make to have your ETD be compliant with ADA accessibility standards. An accessible document will be usable by screen readers and other assistive technologies. As accessibility is incorporated into our day to day scholarly communication practices, we hope that this guide can help inform you on ways to include simple steps to make your documents accessible.

Word Formatting

Using Styles in MS Word
Using styles in your document can help to apply accessibility standards to the content you are adding to your ETD. The ETD Word template includes styles that allow headings and captions to be linked via bookmarks in the final PDF.  The headings layout also allows the content to be organized so that a screen reader can easily locate content as it appears on the page.

 

Adding Alt Text to Images
When adding figures to your document, be sure to use the Picture Format menu to add Alt Text to the image. This allows screen readers to communicate the visual description of the object selected with a screen reader. Though there isn’t a clear set of standards for what makes an acceptable Alt Text description, we suggest describing the image in a very general way concerning more about what it looks like rather than what it is.  The captions you add will describe the context of the figure to your body of work, but the Alt Text will paint an image of the figure via the screen reader.

 

Saving the PDF with Bookmarks
By using the Save as command and selecting PDF as the file type, Word will use the template settings to create bookmarks for the necessary Heading styles.  You may need to enable this in the PC version of Word using the Options menu during the Save as step.  Once the PDF is converted, check that the document is organized and linked in a way that is concise and clear to a reader using an assistive device.

 


Document Properties
Be sure to enter document level information in the file once it is saved. An accessibility checker will require the document to have information about the author, title, and language to validate it as accessible.

Editing Word document properties

  1. In a Word documnet, navigate to File > Info.
  2. Properties are on the right side of the page.
  3. Add your document's title to the title field and make sure you are listed as the author and last person to modify the document.
  4. Right click on any authors you want to remove and select "Remove Person."

Editing PDF document properties

  1. With an Adobe PDF open, navigate to File > Properties.
  2. Add the title of your ETD and your name.
  3. Optional: add in some keywords.
  4. Click on the Initial View tab and set the Window Option to show Document Title instead of File Name.
  5. Click on the Advanced Tab and set the language to English.

LaTeX Accessibility

Converting from LaTaX to PDF

Though LaTeX may have some issues with accessibility due to the manner in which it creates the equations and notations on the pages, there are some things you can adjust in your final PDF to make it more accessible.

 

Document Properties
Be sure to enter document level information in the file once it is saved. An accessibility checker will require the document to have information about the author, title, and language to validate it as accessible.

More Information on Document Accessibility