Creating accessible PDFs from LibreOffice Writer

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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.




Alternative text for images (alt text)

Image use


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.


Other things to take into account for accessibility

Plain English

Why use it?

Further help



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 of document

Language of part of document


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.


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


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.


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


Hyperlink text is the same as the link address

url text as a full url


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)

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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