Why Office generated PDF Documents don'T have to be optimized with Acrobat and Co.

The topic of accessible PDFs has been with me for as long as I have been dealing with accessibility, which is almost exactly 13 years. And guess what? It's hardly gotten any better.

I remember the first few posts complaining about how difficult it is to tag PDFs correctly. That was before the PDF UA tagging standard emerged. And the improvements since then have been modest. Tagging complex but everyday elements such as tables afterwards - in contrast, treating the tooth roots is a pleasure. Tagging absurdities like a list item – you can't seriously tell anyone that. Tagging forms seems to be an art in itself, at least I haven't come across an error-free PDF form yet. Whether 2 or 12 years have passed - with PDF it hardly seems to make a difference. The differences are even more noticeable when compared to native apps and websites. Today you can also format documents in Google Docs as a blind person, you can upload videos to YouTube,

And we're not talking about relatively modern frills like dynamic forms in PDF - as far as I know, it's not yet possible to make something accessible. Long story short: If Adobe designed the rest of its programs like the accessibility tools - the programs would fly off everyone's computer. Lucky for you that it has a virtual monopoly on the subject. And that a whole pool of third-party providers has developed who make extra money by correcting Adobe's inability and of course take part in the circus called PDF UA Association in a completely unselfish way.

Why all this? Because some stupid standard called PDF UA wants to be met. This results in a high level of micro-optimizations that most PDF users don't care about. With Microsoft Office, LibreOffice and also Apple's Office package, you can create wonderfully accessible PDFs as a layman, with little effort and I can promise you that most users will not notice it. In general, PDF is a format from the day before yesterday, as superfluous as sunscreen in the German winter: not responsive, no support for vector formats, no adaptability to special needs - can such a format even be described as accessible?

PDF has some narrowly limited areas of application, but has the bitter aftertaste of many failed digitization processes - an attempt is made to lead a format from the print age into the digital world, where it is neither needed nor useful.

More and more often, when I look at accessible document budgets, I think that digital accessibility isn't the bottom line. It fails due to bad processes.

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