Working with Word 2010 to Create the Source Document

Creating a PDF from a Word 2010 document

Creating the source document

The most important aspect of creating an accessible PDF is the creation of the source document, in this case, Word 2010. We will create a Word 2010 document containing elements typically found in PDF documents.

  • Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • An unordered list
  • An ordered lisgt
  • A nested list
  • A table
  • An image


Headings must be created using Word styles. The Styles pane can be deployed with the keystroke, CTRL+Shift+s. When deployed, the focus moves to the Styles pane. You can type the first few letters of the style you wish to set, then press DownArrow. If you type head and press DownArrow you’ll probably land on Heading 1. Further presses of the DownArrow will reveal other heading levels.

Headings should be nested, meaning that level 2 headings should be beneath level 1 headings. Level 3 headings should be beneath level 2 headings etc.

You can set level 1 through 3 headings with the keystrokes, Alt+CTRL+1 through 3. In order to set levels 4 through 6, it is necessary to use the styles pane.


Paragraphs should use “Normal” text. Begin a new paragraph by pressing the Enter key once. Do not use multiple presses of the Enter key between paragraphs or any other elements in the document. This creates empty paragraph, <P>, tags when published to PDF.


These are simply bulleted lists. You can begin a list by selecting the list bullet style in the Styles pane. It’s much easier to begin a bulleted list by pressing CTRL+Shift+l. Don’t press Tab or space or anything else. Just begin typing the first item. When you’re done, press Enter and a new bullet will be created for you. All you have to do is type the second item and hit Enter. Continue in this manner until all of the items in the list have been added.

Turning off the list is tricky because of a JAWS bug. Press Enter three times. Pressing UpArrow after pressing Enter three times will place you right on the last list item. Press DownArrow and you’ll be on the blank line where you can continue with your document composition. Another JAWS bug causes JAWS to report that the style is still a bulleted list but it’s not. You’ve been returned to the normal style.



You can insert tables into your source document from the Insert ribbon. It’s easier to use the legacy Word keystrokes though. Press Alt+A>I>T. This lands you in a dialog where you can specify how many rows and columns you want your table to have. Use only uniform tables.

Pictures or graphics

If your document has images, photographs, or graphics, you’ll need to provide alternative text for these items. Use the tools on the Insert ribbon to place images in your document. Alt+n will move focus to the Insert ribbon. Press Tab to move to the lower ribbon. The Insert picture item is the fifth item on the Insert ribbon. Press Spacebar to press the button. You’ll land in a dialog in which you can navigate to the picture you want to insert. When you press Enter, the image will land in your document.

To provide alt text for images, press CTRL+Shift+o to bring up a list of objects in the document. Arrow to the one you want to provide alt text for and hit Enter. The object is selected. Press the ApplicationsKey or Shift+F10 to bring up the context menu. UpArrow to the Format Picture item and hit Enter. Focus will be on the Close button. Tab once to get to a list of properties. Then press A twice and you’ll land on Alt text. Press Tab twice to move focus to the Description field and type the Alt text. When done, press Tab to move to the Close button and Spacebar to press the button.

Publishing the word 2010 document to PDF

Open the included Word document, “Department of Veterans Affairs.” Press the Alt key to move focus to the upper ribbon. Press RightArrow until you locate the Acrobat tab. Press Tab and you’ll land on the Creat PDF button. Press the Spacebar. You will be asked to give the PDF a name and the name offered will be the same as the Word document but with a PDF extention. Press Enter to accept the file name. The document will be opened in Acrobat Pro.


Part 3: Working in Acrobat Pro