Creating links

The best way to create accessible links in PDFs is using the Edit PDF tool's Create Link command. 

To create an accessible link, open the Edit PDF tool. Select the "Link" drop-down from the menu at the top of the window. Click "Add/Edit Web or Document Link." Use the cursor to select the content that should become the hyperlink. Specify the Link Appearance and select the Link Action. Click the "Next" button and paste or type the URL to link to in the box. Click the "OK" button to add the link. This tool adds link objects that allow assistive technologies like screen readers to recognize the link, according to Adobe.

Tagging links

If there is an inaccessible link in a document, use the Tags panel's "Find" command to tag links correctly. In the Tags panel, choose "Find" from the Options menu. In the "Find Element" drop-down box, select "Unmarked Links" to find and tag links. Click the "Find" button. Acrobat will highlight unmarked links. Click the "Tag Element" button and select the appropriate tag. Select "Find Next" and tag all unmarked links. Click "Close" when finished.

A user finds unmarked links in a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Link text

Make sure that hyperlinked text is understandable on its own without the surrounding content. There should be no two links with the same link text. If there are two separate links with the same link text (a popular example being "Read more"), change the link text to something more descriptive for that particular link. Link text should help users understand where a link will take them before they click the link. This is helpful for all users, but is especially important for screen reader users so that they can determine the purpose of a link without the context of surrounding content.

Skip repeated content

Accessible PDFs allow users to skip over content that appears multiple times. For example, if the same text or link appears in the header or footer on all pages of a PDF, screen reader users will have to navigate through the same text or link on each page, which can be frustrating. 

Use the Reading Order tool to mark the repeated links as artifacts to remove them from the tag tree and to ensure that users can skip repeated content. 

Learn more about using the Reading Order tool to tag content.

WCAG requirements: 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks, 2.1.1 Keyboard2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context)