How do I create an accessible PDF with ColdFusion 11

New Here ,
Jul 14, 2014 Jul 14, 2014

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This is about as mission critical as it gets in the US Federal World. PDFs generated by ColdFusion must be section 508 compliant. It looks like the biggest issue is tagged content. Has anyone successfully generated a tagged pdf in ColdFusion 11???

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New Here ,
Oct 30, 2017 Oct 30, 2017

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This questions is three years old but it deserves a response.

There are currently two tags for converting HTML to PDF.  CFdocument and CFHTMLtoPDF.

CFdocument will not generate a tagged PDF.  Adobe doesn't plan on fixing that.

CFHTMLtoPDF was introduced in ColdFusion 11.  It generates a tagged PDF --- except the image descriptions (ALT attribute values) are not being exported to the PDF.  As of this reply the Adobe intends to fix that in the next release.

Assuming you've migrated to CF 11 or later, one option is to use CFHTMLtoPDF but avoid using images.  If images must be included, you might caption the images with plain text (in the manner of newspapers or news magazine) and use the aria-describedby and id attrbutes to anchor the captions to the images.

I hope this suggestion helps someone.

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New Here ,
Jan 04, 2021 Jan 04, 2021

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This is a follow up on my previous response.  I've learned some more since my last post.

 

To convert MS Word documents to PDF using CF, please observe the following guidelines for making the source documents accessible:

 

  • Only use PDF when it is your best option.
  • Keep your syntax and gramar simple.
  • Use semantic tagging instead of decorative tagging for titles, header, lists, etc.,
  • Use header tags H1 - H6 only.  The  PDF format does not recogize other header levels (e.g. H7)
  • Use alternative text or captions for images.
  • Use adquate color contrasts.
  • Don't use tables for layout.  Only tables for tabular data only.
  • Keep your tables simple.  Use multiple simple tables rather than one complex table.
  • Use header rows for tables displaying tabular data.
  • Limit the number of fonts used and embed all the fonts (excepting the 14 Base fonts.)
  • Give some priority to dyslexia friendly fonts.
  • Copy important information in the headers and footers in the body of the document.  (Screen readers will not read the headers and footers.)
  • Validate your Word documents for accessibility using automated and manual checks.
  • Validate your resulting PDFs for accessibility using automated and manual checks.

 

For more indepth guidelines refer to the W3C's WCAG level AA guidelines and the PDF/UA guidelines.

 

I hope this information is useful to someone.

 

Be well. Stay safe.

 

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