Designing Accessible Documents for Everyone

STC WDCB Chapter Event

Location: Rockville Library
Cost: Free
Registration: Tickets for Designing Accessible Documents for Everyone on Eventbrite

This mini-workshop will present an overview of how to prepare documents using Microsoft Word, Adobe FrameMaker, and Adobe Acrobat that all people can read, even those people who rely on screen readers. The United States government made this a requirement for federal agencies in 1998 when Congress passed Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. All document designers have the opportunity to increase the readership of their documents, even if they aren’t compelled to do so by law. Adding alternate text, adding basic structure to your documents, and setting simple options provided by authoring tools are things we all can do to improve the accessibility of our documents.

By the end of this mini-workshop you will have begun to understand how to set up your source documents in Microsoft Word or Adobe FrameMaker to support accessibility, create an accessible PDF using either tool, check for accessibility in Adobe Acrobat, and fix accessibility problems in your PDF.

You will receive a handout that summarizes the procedures introduced in class.

Intended Audience

Technical writers and documentation specialists working in any industry who use Word, FrameMaker, and Acrobat to create documents. Note: This class will not explain Section 508. For more information about Section 508 requirements, see the official Section 508 website and other resources that will be shared in class.


  • 10:00-10:15 a.m. Registration and refreshments (bagels and juice will be provided)
  • 10:15-11:00 a.m. Workshop Part 1: Document preparation in Word and FrameMaker; creating the PDF (speaker: Carolyn Kelley Klinger)
  • 11:00-11:45 a.m. Workshop Part 2: Checking for and fixing accessibility problems in your PDF (speaker: Dona Patrick)
  • 11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Q&A

Feel free to join us for lunch (pay on your own) immediately after the workshop at Spice Xing for an Indian buffet at 100-B Gibbs Street, which is an easy walk (about one block) from the library. Please let Carolyn know by e-mail at Events Manager if you want to join us for lunch so that she can alert the restaurant.

About the Speakers

photo of Carolyn Kelley KlingerCarolyn Kelley Klinger is an independent consultant working primarily for the National Cancer Institute as a technical writer. New to accessibility, she has led her technical writing team at the NCI in the development of accessible documentation in the past year. Not finding the detail she needed in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Section 508 guidelines, she created her own reference materials for her group that are unique to HHS. She delivered a version of this workshop at Accessibility Camp DC in October 2009. You can reach Carolyn at Events Manager and at STC Washington, DC Chapter events (see the Events Calendar).

photo of Dona PatrickDona Patrick, who holds a masters in Educational Technology from George Washington University, has been involved in web accessibility since 2001 when she was hired by Caliber Associates (now part of ICF Consulting) to become a web accessibility resource in anticipation of Section 508. Before that she taught students with learning and / or emotional difficulties. She now exclusively works on evaluating, remediating and creating accessible PDF documents for government agencies through her work at ICF Consulting. She maintains the "PDF Accessibility Documentation" website at Dona can be contacted at email hidden; JavaScript is required.


Bagels and juice


Metro: Take the Red Line to Rockville. Cross Route 355 at East Middle Lane, or you may take the Pedestrian bridge at the Metro stop. (If you take the Pedestrian Overpass, turn right on Monroe Street and continue to East Middle Lane.) Continue on East Middle Lane to Maryland Avenue. Turn right onto Maryland Avenue. The library is on the plaza on your left at 21 Maryland Avenue.

We will be in the first floor meeting room.

Get driving directions from your address.


Although the library is close to the Rockville Metro station, plenty of parking is available near the library. Parking in the Town Square Garage across the street from the library is free on Saturdays.

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