NewFormat logo

OpenFormat logo
Part of NewFormat AB Portal
Swedish Flag   UK Flag
OpenFormat     Products and Services     Offerings / Promotions / Prices     Guides and Datasheets
Customer Contact Form     Home/NewFormat

PDF/UA - Icon

NewFormat AB

NewFormat make PDF information permanently accessible, searchable,
readable and reusable for the future and for as many people as possible.

We create accessible PDF in compliance with the ISO Standard PDF/UA.


Our solutions are based on
recognized ISO Standards based on PDF technology
and tested, reliable, and highly accessible software solutions from
the PDF Association vendor community.





Accessibility - Icon

Accessible PDF




PDF/UA - Icon

Entirely barrier-free
Accessible PDF (PDF/UA) for Accessible eGovernment

Barrier-free PDF in accordance with the ISO Standard PDF/UA ensures
universal accessibility for everyone to digital information based on PDF technology;
such as barrier-free reading and editing of PDF documents and PDF forms

by

Olaf Drümmer
Founder, callas software, Germany,
Founder and Managing Director, axaio software, Germany,
PDF Association Lifetime Member

Kent Åberg
Founder and Managing Director, NewFormat AB, Sweden,
Liaison of PDF Association Scandinavia Chapter

(Join the callas software blog for PDF professionals!)


    Making information easily accessible for all citizens

    Making information easily accessible to citizens is undoubtedly a big part of
    eGovernment and is sought after by federal and state authorities as well as
    districts, cities and municipalities.

    Increasingly, information is only offered and passed on in digital form,
    whereby the reliable and user-friendly Portable Document Format (PDF)
    has established itself worldwide as the preferred file format.

    PDF is the format of choice for every kind of document used in all
    industries, government and by all citizens.
    PDF is trusted by everyone to reliably communicate accurate information.

    All information that is worth saving and shared with others
    is saved in the form of a PDF document.
    Every year billions of PDF documents are created around the world.
    Only within the Swedish public sector millions of PDF documents are created every year.

    Since 2009, it is mandatory (according to the National Archives' regulations)
    for Swedish government authorities to use the standard PDF/A-1 for long-term
    electronic archiving of digital office documents and other digital documents.


    To ensure unrestricted access to PDF-based information in every respect,
    PDF files must meet certain requirements.
    These are defined since 2012 in PDF/UA ("Universal Accessibility"),
    the ISO Standard for "Accessible PDF Documents".

    PDF/UA is a complementary, process-based standard applicable to
    Swedish government authorities and bodies to make public documents
    universally accessible to everyone.
    A PDF document can simultaneously meet several standards,
    for example both PDF/A and PDF/UA.

    PDF/UA ensures that even citizens with greatly diminished vision,
    insufficient command of written language or motor limitations
    can capture and interactively use documents without outside help.
    In addition, content from PDF/UA documents on mobile devices is
    much easier for users to read than from a conventional PDF document;
    added value for everyone.

    What the flattened curbside or stepless access for wheelchair users is,
    is the barrier-free PDF in accordance with the PDF/UA standard for
    reading and editing documents and forms.
    Without limiting the diversity of PDF technology, PDF/UA determines how
    unrestricted accessibility of content in PDF files is ensured.

    To this end, the PDF/UA standard defines requirements to exclude barriers when
    accessing page content, form fields, notes, metadata and other elements of PDF files.
    This allows users who use special tools, such as screen readers, special mouse or
    voice output and input, to interact with content in PDF documents.
    PDF/UA, in turn, offers the author clearly defined criteria that must be
    observed when creating accessible documents.


    In order to achieve the goal of accessibility, the PDF/UA standard requires,
    among other things, the following:

    • All content in the PDF file must be correctly tagged.
      Headings, regular paragraphs, lists and tables must be marked as such.

    • The levels of the headings must reflect the internal structure of the document.

    • The intended reading sequence for the entire content must be clearly defined.

    • A corresponding text must be assigned to pictorial representations and
      graphical illustrations, which reflects the pictorial content in words.

    • The language in which a text is written must be specified.

    • Language changes within the text must also be indicated;
      e.g. that a Swedish word is used in an otherwise English text.

    • Information may not be represented solely by colour or contrast.

    Most of these requirements are met by additional, invisible markers in
    the PDF page descriptions, which are called "tags".
    These tags provide PDF elements with additional information about
    the content, position and type of the element, and integrate all elements
    into a semantic overall structure.
    This defines headings, captions and navigation elements.

    Assistive Technology (AT) devices use the tags in a PDF/UA document
    to reproduce the contents of the document.

callas pdfGoHTML Structured Tags View English- Picture

Click on image
Example of a correctly tagged PDF document and its structure tags.

    This is the basis for the practical use of accessible PDF despite barriers
    such as blindness, significantly reduced vision or restrictions in mobility
    that necessitate the use of technical aids.

    Screen readers are dependent on all content being in text form,
    which can then be read aloud via speech synthesisers or output
    as Braille on a Braille display.
    The use of special mouse, voice control and other tools for
    effective navigation in and interaction with documents require access to
    the content structure of the document in the form of the tag structure.
    This is achieved by logically linking the tags, which means that all
    content elements are also assigned to a semantic role.
    These can then be connected in a logical read sequence,
    regardless of the page and position on which they are placed.

    These tags can also be defined later in existing PDFs using programs such as
    Adobe Acrobat - but this is an extremely tedious and time-consuming task.
    It is much more effective to perform corresponding preparatory work in creation
    programs, such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, or OpenOffice and LibreOffice,
    or Adobe InDesign for professional publications.
    They already offer the possibility to create, to a certain degree,
    a good quality tagged PDF directly from the application,
    even if this does not yet achieve full PDF/UA quality in some points.

    Note! To shorten the time-consuming task of tagging,
    we do recommend the use of more specialized tools
    in closing the remaining gap to PDF/UA conformity.


    But how does an author check whether the documents created by him/her
    really correspond to the specifications stored in PDF/UA?

    Since 2013, the Matterhorn Protocol, developed by the PDF Association,
    in coordination with the ISO, has been available as a binding test catalogue
    for barrier-free PDF documents and forms.
    The Matterhorn Protocol consists of 31 test sections consisting of 136 individual,
    precisely defined fault conditions.
    This makes it easier for authors to create and verify PDF/UA-compliant PDF files and forms.
    Each test section represents a specific area of conformity requirements,
    such as "definition of text language" or "metadata".
    The individual error conditions define a specific test at
    document, page, object or JavaScript level.

    Some of the error conditions can be programmatically checked by software,
    for example with the free PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 3)
    from the Swiss foundation "Access for all".
    PAC 3 is considered the first tool based entirely on the Matterhorn protocol.

    A number of other error conditions must be tested interactively,
    for example "Headings are not marked as headings".

    The free callas pdfGoHTML plug-in for Adobe Acrobat from callas software supports this.
    It displays the document structure including reading sequence and alternative texts
    for images in an easy-to-understand quick diagnosis view with coloured markings.


    Accessibility does not only affect people with more or less severe disabilities.
    A correctly tagged PDF with a clean tag structure is a big step towards the optimal
    creation, editing, output and utilization of accessible documents in general.
    For example, and directly thanks to PDF/UA,
    search engines can index accessible PDFs much better.
    Structured PDF files can be used much better than conventional documents.

    For format conversions, like PDF to HTML, unformatted text or RTF,
    Microsoft Word and OpenOffice Writer, the conversion results are more reliable.

    On mobile devices with a comparatively small display, content from
    PDF/UA documents can be presented in a more user-friendly way.
    This plays a particularly important role in a society shaped where the citizens
    operate mobile devices on a daily basis for all kind of services, and is also
    a clear opportunity for a successful eGovernment to be involved in.




PDF/UA - Icon

Recommended Reading on PDF/UA
The ISO Standard for Accessible PDF Documents and Forms

PDF/UA in a Nutshell - Front Cover - Picture     PDF/UA Flyer Front Cover - Picture

(For download of these guides, click on the pictures above)



PDF/UA - Icon

    Do you need help to create accessible PDF in compliance with PDF/UA?

    NewFormat help businesses to locate, map and analyze existing
    document resources as input for decision on needed actions to achieve
    full accessibility compliance.

    We provide tools and services to create accessible PDF;
    either on your own ("do-it-yourself") or as a service "Accessible PDF as a Service".

    Our services can regularly scan and crawl websites, internal networks,
    file systems, folders, files,... to locate existing document issues and
    compile an issue-report based on the findings.
    The report indicates the accessibility status of the PDF documents over time;
    including measures needed to remediate PDF documents for full PDF/UA compliance.


    We are happy to carry out a sample test/audit scan at no cost to you!

    We are here to help you - Contact NewFormat for Accessible PDF




More Information and Resources

PDF/UA - Icon


Access for All - PAC3 Check - Error - Does not comply with PDF/UA - Not an accessible PDF - Banner


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 2008-2019 NewFormat AB. All rights reserved.



PDF/UA - Icon