Creating ADA Compliant PDF Documents

03-04-2019 11:38 AM
Status: Implemented
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New Contributor II

As a California state agency, all documents posted to our website will have to be ADA compliant come July 1, 2019. This includes any map documents created in ArcMap and exported to PDF. When checking maps for ADA compliance within Adobe Acrobat, thousands of figures are found within a single map that require alternative text. It would be extremely helpful to have a checkbox to export to an ADA compliant pdf document where a single map page would be a single figure. 


I think your best bet to make this managable, is to use ArcGIS Pro 2.3+ new "Output as image" option that ESRI's Jeremy Wright‌ refers to in this other thread. At least you will have only a single image to deal with in the resulting PDF, which should make your life a lot easier:

If you are still working primarily with ArcMap, you can simply import the map document in Pro, and then output to PDF using the "Share" option from the Layout ribbon. This works really well.

Status changed to: In Product Plan

Is there any movement on accessibility in PDF creation? Many metadata settings in PDF like: title, "open with file title", language, etc are required in PDF. Can any of these be set in the template? OR does it all have to be done post creation. It would make automating reports a lot easier if these didn't need to be done in Acrobat. 



Hi @steve705 Aubri just set the status on this to In Product Plan.  We expect to see this functionality in ArcGIS Pro 2.8, currently scheduled to be available in May.  Hope this helps.

Status changed to: Implemented

Implemented in ArcGIS Pro 2.8.

See Ideas in ArcGIS Pro 2.8 and (3:06) in the video.


@KoryKramer I have been testing exporting a compliant pdf in ArcGIS Pro 2.8. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm finding that

1. Headings are not being exported in the marginalia (which is really important for compliancy),

2. The map is being divided into hundreds of different polygons,

3. There is no way to mark an image as decorative (i.e. logos). 

I'm curious if I'm doing something wrong or are these issues which are still under development. I'm excited that ESRI is making progress with compliant PDFs and look forward to these issues being addressed in the future. 



Hi Kate,

Great questions! 2.8 is the first Pro release supporting Accessible PDFs. Accessibility in desktop GIS is a complex and expanding field, we expect the options in Pro will grow and update based on feedback.

To answer your specific questions:

1. Headings are not currently included. All text in the layout is added as text elements, right now there isn't a way to know what is a heading versus regular text. Right now you need to use a different software, like Adobe Acrobat, to tag headings.

2. I have seen the map divided before. We are looking at solutions to this.

3.  There is no current way to mark images as decorative. Legends, north arrows, scale bars and graphic shapes (points, lines, and polygons on the layout) are marked as decorative automatically, but images are not. You currently need to use another software, like Adobe Acrobat, to mark specific images as decorative. 

This blog post provides more detail about what is supported and not supported in Pro: