PDF Compliance Checklist

Section 508 HHS Compliant PDF Checklist

The following checklist is from the Department of Health and Human Services website ( Documents that pass all applicable requirements on this list are considered to be in compliance with Section 508, as interpreted by HHS. Updated 03/2103


1.0.Master Requirements for all Documents

1.1 Does the document file name not contain spaces and/or special characters?
1.2 Is the document file name concise, generally limited to 20-30 characters, and does it make the contents of the file clear?
1.3 Have the Document Properties for Title, Author (an HHS OpDiv, StaffDiv, or Program Office—not an individual’s names), Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, and Language been filled out?
1.4 Does the document utilize recommended fonts (i.e., Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, or Calibri)?
1.5 Have track changes been accepted or rejected and turned off?
1.6 Have comments been removed and formatting marks been turned off?
1.7 Does the document refrain from using flashing/flickering text and/or animated text?
1.8 Do all URLs contain the correct hyperlink and display the fully qualified URL (i.e., and and are they keyboard accessible?
1.9 Are all URLs linked to correct Web destinations?
1.10 Are all internal links/TOC entries functioning correctly (if linked)?
1.11 Are links (including e-mail addresses) keyboard accessible?
1.12 Has a separate accessible version of the document been provided when there is no other way to make the content accessible?
1.13 Is the color contrast ratio between foreground text and background color at least 4.5:1?
1.14 Has the document been reviewed in Print Preview for a final visual check?


2.0. General Layout and Formatting Requirements

2.1 Is the document free of scanned images of text?
2.2 Have bookmarks been included in all PDFs that are more than 9 pages long? And, if bookmarks are present, are they logical?
2.3 Are decorative images marked as background/artifact?
2.4 Have all scanned signatures been removed from the PDF? (see
2.5 If there is an automated accessibility checker in the program used to create the PDF, has that been run and does it pass?
2.6 Is the document free of layout tables?
2.7 Do images/graphics appear crisp and legible?
2.8 If a table of contents (TOC) is present, are the page numbers correct, and, if linked, does the TOC function correctly?


3.0.Accessibility Tagging and Reading Order

3.1 Have PDF tags been added to the document?
3.2 Does the order of the PDF Tags match that of the order that the content should be read in?
3.3 Has the PDF been formatted using Style elements (i.e., the title of the document as Heading 1, the first-order heading as Heading 2, etc.?)
3.4 Are heading styles organized in a hierarchal and logical fashion, with consecutive headings (i.e., no missing heading levels).
3.5 If nonstandard/custom tags are used, have they been mapped correctly in the Document Roles dialogue box and verified as working via assistive technology testing: (e.g., JAWS, Window Eyes, NVDA, and Dragon)?
3.6 Have documents with multicolumn text, tables, or call-out boxes been checked for correct reading order?
3.7 Are any footnotes or references tagged with standard Note and Reference tags and placed in the proper logical reading order?


4.0. Document Images Requirement

4.1 Is the document free of background images or watermarks?
4.2 Are multiple associated images on the same page (e.g., boxes in an organizational chart) grouped as one object?
4.3 Have all multilayered objects been flattened into one image and does that image use one alternative text description for the image?
4.4 Do all images, grouped images, and nontext elements that convey information have meaningful alternative-text descriptions?
4.5 Do complex images (i.e., charts and graphs) have descriptive text near the image (perhaps as a caption)?


5.0. Lists and PDF Tables


Have lists been tagged completely, making use of all four of the following tags: L, LI, Lbl, and LBody tags?
5.2 If the document has a tabular appearance, was that tabular structure made using the table option (as opposed to manual tabs and/or spaces)?
5.3 Are blank cells avoided?
5.4 Do all tables have a logical reading order from left to right, top to bottom?
5.5 Do all data tables in the document have Row and/or Column headers?
5.6 Do header rows repeat across pages if the table is multiple pages?
5.7 Are all table cells, with the exception of those in the Header Rows or columns, designated as data cells?
5.8 Are data cells set so they do not split across pages?
5.9 If the table is a simple table, does it have scoping applied to the appropriate Row/Column Headers?
5.10 If the table is a complex table, does it have id and header attributes to associate the data cells with the column/row headers?
5.11 Are all tables described and labeled (where appropriate)? Note: In some cases naming/numbering of tables may not be appropriate. For example, a small data table in a presentation may not need a reference.


6.0. Form Fields

6.1 Do all form fields have correct labels and markups:
  1. Form fields must have a visual text label next to the form tag and there must be a tool tip.
  2. Is the value attribute used on buttons?
  3. Is the label element not being used on hidden input fields (e.g., input type =”hidden”)?
6.2 Are all form fields keyboard accessible?
6.3 Are all multiple-choice answers keyboard accessible and grouped together as form-field sets?
  1. The value attribute needs to match the text next to the answer.
  2. Make sure the name attribute is the same.

A Few of Our Clients:

  • ngs

  • anthem

  • rand

  • wellpoint

  • RTI

  • fda

  • VitalSmarts+Logo

  • PBgc

  • va

  • cent

  • nrc

  • UI

  • OU

Best Practices

EDCS/AIM uses NetCentric Technologies' CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.0, PDF/UA, HHS as well as Section 508.

Health Insurance Document Specialists

We are experienced in remediation for all types of health insurance provider documents- ANOC, EOC, SOB, etc., with rapid turnaround.

Compliance Guarantee

AIM remediated documents passing all HHS checklist items are guaranteed compliant with Section 508, and include time-stamped validations.

No-Obligation Evaluation

Send us a sample document: We will evaluate it and provide you with a qualified bid and remediation report with a detailed compliance plan.

Fillable Forms, No Problem

“Fill-in” PDF forms are a real time saver for ALL users! Let us make your forms accessible: Send us a sample for a no-obligation evaluation.