Creating accessible PDFs from LibreOffice Writer

Posted:
Tagged with:

Before starting

Demo file

An example file, LibreOffice-un-accessible.odt (ODT 164KB), has been created which has issues that need to be corrected.

Making documents correctly

Title, Author etc.

While Title is the only field that is required in an accessible PDF, it is worth adding Keywords for SEO, adding the Subject, and a generic Contributor and a Publisher. If you do not wish the name of the real author all over the internet, replace them with organisation name.

Headings

Lists

Hyperlinks

Alternative text for images (alt text)

Image use

Language

Leading screen reader software is multilingual.

Language of document

The language of the document must be set so that screen readers will read the document using the correct language profile.

Language of part of document

Content within the document written in a different language to the document’s default language must be identified.

Tables

Other things to take into account for accessibility

Plain English

Why use it?

Further help

Font

Colour

LibreOffice Accessibility Check

Accessibility Check (external website) tests LibreOffice Writer documents for the following potential accessibility issues:

Running the Accessibility Check

Fixing the issues

Note: sometimes you may need to save and close and reopen the document to get the Accessibility Check to recognise that you have fixed the error.

Language

Language of document

Language of part of document

Title

The error reported is “Document title not set” as this is a required field for accessibility.

Alt text

The error reported is “Missing alternative or description text” because the images do not have alt text set or are not marked as decorative.

Tables

Setting headings in tables

Inserting a table
Editing a table
Repeating heading when table splits across pages

Right click on table and choose Table Properties, Text Flow tab and make sure that “Allow the table to split across pages and columns”, “Allow row to break across pages and columns”, and “Repeat heading” are checked

Allow the table to split across pages and columns, allow row to break across pages and columns, and repeat heading are checked

Fixing errors

Table1” contains merges or splits

The first error being reported is “Table: “Table1” contains merges or splits”

Single complex table with females and males

The text formatting conveys additional meaning

The second error being reported is “Formatting: The text formatting conveys additional meaning”

7:32 showing as the text formatting conveys additional meaning

Avoid newlines to create space

Tables separated using table spacing properties

Avoid using empty table cells for formatting

Tables with empty cells

Tables with empty cells

Headings

The text formatting conveys additional meaning

The error reported is “Formatting: The text formatting conveys additional meaning” because the potential headings are formatted using Bold rather than using Heading 1, Heading 2 etc.
Select text to be used as heading and style as appropriate.

“Outline levels of headings not in sequential order” and “A heading with outline level 4 must not follow a heading with outline level 2”

“Heading 4” is set to Heading 4, and the heading above is set to Heading 2, which means that there is either a heading between them that has been set incorrectly or either “Heading 2” or “Heading 4” are not set correctly. Correct the heading so they are now in sequential order.

Lists

Simulated numbering “1. 2….” when headings are involved

Headings with handwritten numbers

Simulated numbering “1. 2….” when it is just a list

Numbered list created manually

Hyperlinks

Hyperlink text is the same as the link address

url text as a full url

Paragraphs

Text contrast is too low

Contrast between text and background is too low

Avoid newlines to create space

The text formatting conveys additional meaning

paragraph that is erroring with the text formatting conveys additional meaning

Blinking text

Select text and go to Styles menu and choose “Clear Formatting”.

Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and Endnotes can be correctly defined and made accessible using Adobe Acrobat Pro but to get the Accessibility Check to pass footnotes and end notes must be put inline.

Creating a table of contents or TOC

Artifacting objects

Header and Footer objects are artifacted when exported to PDF.

Exporting to a PDF

Check for accessibility in Adobe Acrobat Pro PDF

Note: to be able to remediate PDFs, Adobe Acrobat Pro or equivalent PDF editing software is required.

Check for accessibility in PAC 2024

Fixing this issue

Downloadable Microsoft Word version

Creating accessible PDFs from LibreOffice Writer (Word 1028KB)

Share on:

TwitterLinkedIn

Site preferences

Please feel free to display our site, your way by finding the preferences that work best for you. We do not track any data or preferences at all, should you select any options in the groups below, we store a small non-identifiable token to your browser's Local Storage, this is required for your preferencesto persist across pages accordion be present on repeat visits. You can remove those tokens if you wish, by simply selecting Unset, from each preference group.

Theming

Theme
Code block theme

Code theme help

Code block themes can be changed independent of the site theme.

  • Default: (Unset) Code blocks will have the same theme as the site theme.
  • Light 1: will be default for users viewing the light theme, this maintains the minimum 7:1 (WCAG Level AAA) contrast ratio we have used throughout the site, it can be quite difficult to identify the differences in colour between various syntax types, due to the similarities in colour at that contrast ratio
  • Light 2: drops the contrast for syntax highlighting down to WCAG Level AA standards (greater than 4.5:1)
  • Dark: Syntax highlighting has a minimum contrast of 7:1 and due to the dark background differences in colour may appear much more perceivable

Motion

Motion & animation

Motion & animation help

  • Default (Unset): Obeys device settings, if present. If no preference is set, there are subtle animations on this site which will be shown. If you have opted for reduce motion, smooth scrolling as well as expanding and collapsing animations will no longer be present, fading transtitions and micro animations will still be still present.
  • None: All animations and transitions are completely removed, including fade transitions.

Links

Underline all links

Underline all links help

  • Default (Unset): Most links are underlined, with a few exceptions such as: the top level links in the main navigation (on large screens), cards, tags and icon links.
  • Yes: Will add underlines to the exceptions outlined above, resulting in every link being underlined

Text and paragraphs

Font size (main content)

Font size help

This setting does not apply to the site's header or footer regions

  • Default (Unset): Font sizes are set to site defaults
  • Selecting Large or Largest will increase the font size of the main content, the size of the increase depends on various factors such as your display size and/or zoom level. The easiest way to determine which option suits you best would be to view this text after clicking either size's button
Letter spacing

Letter spacing help

  • Default (Unset): Default letter spacing applies
  • Increased: Multiplies the font size by 0.12 and adds the sum as spacing between each character
Line height

Line height help

  • Default (Unset): all text has a minimum line height of 1.5 times the size of the text
  • Increased: all text has a line height of twice the size of the text
Paragraph spacing

Paragraph spacing help

  • Default (Unset): The space between paragraphs is equivalent to 1.5 times the height of the paragraph's text
  • Increased: The space between paragraphs is equivalent to 2.25 times the height of the paragraph's text
Word spacing preference

Word spacing help

  • Default (Unset): No modifications to word spacing are present
  • Increased: Spaces between words are equivalent to 0.16 times the font size