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

NewFormat AB

PDF standards make the world work

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

Our solutions are based on
tested, reliable, and highly accessible software solutions.

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

We therefore recommend that you now use PAC 2021
for validation of PDF files' compliance with
the accessibility standards PDF/UA and WCAG.

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Logo

PDF Accessibility Checker 3 (PAC 3)

(PAC 3 is outdated as of August 2021!
Instead, please use:
PAC 2021)

The freeware program PAC from the Swiss foundation Access for all
provides a first fast way to test the accessibility of PDF files according to
the ISO Standard 14289-1 for Universal Accessibility, also known as PDF/UA.

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

Accessibility puts people at its centre and is a process of continuous development.
Technology can help to remove barriers,but it can also create new ones.
The “Access for all / Zugang für alle” foundation
is an initiative that helps to overcome these obstacles.

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, and U.S. Section 508.

axesPDF - Logo with text


PDF Accessibility Checker 3 (PAC 3) - Banner

PDF Accessibility Checker 3 (PAC 3)

The freeware program PAC provides a first fast way to
check the accessibility of PDF documents.

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

    PAC General information and worth to know about PDF standards

    PDF standards

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

    • 89 failure conditions can be checked by software, and

    • 47 failure conditions usually require human judgment.

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

    The PDF Accessibility Checker PAC is a freeware program of
    the Swiss foundation Access for all. Its use is free.

    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 has a check for every single type of structure element.

    Based on this, PAC automatically checks 107 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 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 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.

    Accessibility of websites to WCAG 2.0/2.1 and
    PDF/UA compliant documents

    The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0/2.1 (WCAG 2.0/2.1)
    are the internationally recognized guidelines for accessible web offers.
    Many national or supranational regulations (eg at EU level)
    on the accessibility of web sites refer to WCAG 2.0/2.1.

    Electronic documents provided for download on a web site are also covered
    by WCAG 2.0/2.1 per se and must meet the applicable success criteria to comply
    with WCAG 2.0/2.1 (Level A, AA or AAA).
    Not all PDF/UA accessible PDF documents comply with WCAG 2.0/2.1.

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

Download - Icon

Free Download of PDF Accessibility Checker

Click Here to download PDF Accessibility Checker

PAC helps you to quickly and easily check that your
PDF documents are created as accessible PDF, PDF/UA

    Access for All - PAC3 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 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.

    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!

    Access for All - PAC3 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.

    It remains to verify that the document is also semantically correct.
    When this requirement is also successful, the document can be published
    as a PDF that is accessible for everyone on the entity's websites.

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

PAC - The user interface at a glance

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Interface Overview - Picture

    PAC Program Interface

    1. The PDF file to be checked is dragged and dropped onto
      the button with the corresponding icon;
      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. (1)

    2. 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. (2)

    3. In the first tab PDF/UA
      (others are reserved for potential further developments of the PAC),
      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 audited by PAC are met, in the opposite case:
      This file is not PDF/UA compliant. (3)

    4. The results of the test procedure are then presented in a tabular overview
      with four columns and eleven rows.
      In the first column ("Checkpoints"), the eleven checkpoints are named,
      each of which summarizes the result for several individual test criteria.

      The second column documents the number of verified and validated
      occurrences of a given checkpoint ("Pass") and
      the third column gives the number of warnings;
      In these cases a closer analysis is indicated. ("Warning").
      Finally, the fourth column names the number of cases that
      violated the PDF/UA standard ("Failed"). (4)

    5. Below the summary table are six feature buttons,
      five of which are reserved (populated) and another
      reserved for potential enhancements of the PAC.

      The occupied five feature buttons are the following:

      1. Export PDF Report
        The overview table described above is exported as a barrier-free PDF file. (5)

      2. Detailed Report:
        The detailed report differentiates the findings documented in
        the summary table in detail and allows a quick localization of
        the non-validated occurrences of certain elements in the PDF file. (6)

      3. Screen Reader Preview:
        Screen reader preview allows the quality of the semantic information
        given as a "tag" to the PDF document
        (for example: X is a first order chapter heading, X is a subsection,
        X is a section, X is a listing, X is a Footnote, etc.) and visually quickly check
        the sequential logic of the reading sequence specified in the document. (7)

      4. Display of Logical Structure:
        The logical structure shows the complete structure tree.
        Combined views can be used to check tag properties.
        You can display corresponding elements for a tag in
        the document or control the role assignments. (8th)

      5. Document Statistics:
        The document statistics provides an overview of the structural elements used
        and indicates the number of occurrences in the document for each. (9)

Minute test for PDF / Quick test of a PDF document for accessibility

    What is the minute test?
    • Quick test of a PDF document for accessibility

    • For everyone feasible with free available tools

    • First assessment of PDF/UA conformity (tendency)

    • First assessment of the semantics of the document

    • Examiner gets better and faster the more often
      he has performed a minute test

    What is the minute test not?
    • Final statement on conformity of a document with
      tillgänglighetstandarder PDF/UA, BITV or WCAG 2.0/2.1

    • Experts test

    • Field test

    • Final quality assurance

    • 100% statement on the accessibility of a document

    How do I proceed?
    Step 1: Automatic PDF/UA check with PAC
    1. Download PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) free test tool

    2. Check PDF document:

Figure 1: PAC program window after checking a PDF/UA document

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

PAC approved - PDF/UA requirements are met

Figure 2: PAC program window after checking a document
that is not PDF/UA compliant

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

PAC not approved - Document is not PDF/UA compliant.

    Step 2: Quick look at the statistics of the document

    Review the document statistics

Figure 3: Document Statistics window of a PDF/UA document

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Document Statistics - Most Likely a PDF/UA Compliant PDF Document -Picture

Document that is probably PDF/UA compliant

    The statistic in Figure 3 shows that (among other things)
    the following elements are present in the document:

    • Headings of levels 1, 2 and 3
    • Pictures and captions (Figure, Caption)
    • Lists (L, Lbl, LBody)
    • Paragraphs (P)
    • Table of Contents (TOC, TOCI)

    This indicates that the most important elements are present
    and it is probably a correctly tagged document.

Figure 4: Document Statistics window of a PDF/UA document

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Document Statistics - Not PDF/UA Compliant PDF Document - Picture

Document statistics indicates it is not PDF/UA compliant

    A quick look at the statistics in Figure 4 shows that there are
    no headings, no table of contents and no captions.
    This does not support a structured document.
    It seems to consist mainly of sections of text.

    Step 3: Quick review of the screen reader preview

Figure 5: Screen Reader Preview window of a PDF/UA document

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Screen Reader - Highlighting Key Structure Elements - Picture

    With the screen reader preview, you can check the structure of the document.
    Each element (eg H1, P, L etc.) is highlighted in color.

Figure 6: Screen Reader Preview window of a PDF document
that is not PDF/UA compliant

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Dashboard - Screen Reader - Missing Key Elements - 
Not PDF/UA Compliant PDF Document - Picture

There are only P-elements, no headings or other elements.

    System Requirements:

    The following system requirements must be met:

    • Windows Vista (SP 2), Windows 7 (SP 1),
      Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.1 or later

    The PAC user interface is available in English and German.

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 Accessibility Checker (PAC) - Logo