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Myths & FACTS about 508

Myth:
"X" file format (Word, PDF, PowerPoint, Audio, Video, you-name-it) doesn't have to be 508 compliant.

FACT:
Since June 2001 the law has required all content created using federal money to be 508 compliant. 

This includes government hosted or contractor hosted websites and intranet sites.  This also includes content hosted by third-party services like YouTube.

 

Myth:
I can avoid 508 compliance because tagging PDFs creates an undue burden.

FACT:
The Office of Disability states that the cost of correcting content to meet section 508 standards must exceed 5% of the total HHS discretionary budget in order to qualify as an undue burden.

 

Myth:
I can convert MS Word documents into compliant PDF files simply by selecting “Adobe PDF” as my printer.

FACT:
Word can create PDF files when using “Adobe PDF” as its printer but the PDF files it creates aren’t always 508 compliant.

Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0 or higher is necessary to create properly tagged PDF files.

Learn more about what you can do to ensure your materials comply with Section 508 rules.

 

MYTH:
I can tag my PDF file to be 508 compliant by using the

Advanced --> Accessibility --> Add Tags to Document

function in Adobe Acrobat Professional.

FACT:
This is only the first step to creating a 508 compliant PDF file.

Adding the tags through Adobe should be followed by a 508 check:  

Advanced --> Accessibility --> Full Check.

A document is 508 compliant only when the Adobe Acrobat Full Check comes back showing no errors. We also recommend you install NetCentric's CommonLook Plugin.

 

Myth:
Converting my tables into PDF will make them 508 compliant.

FACT:
Not true.

Section 508(g) and 508(h) require you to use row and column headers in data tables and that all data tables are built in a logical way.

Use Adobe Acrobat Professional 7.0 or higher to run a full check on any PDF document containing tables. 

Read the Section 508 standards for data tables.

Resources

Check out step-by-step guidance on making PDFs Section 508 compliant, on working with tables in PDFs, and on working with images in PDFs.