Accessible Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers in Adobe Acrobat

How do I create accessible headers, footers, and page numbers in Adobe Acrobat?


Guide to Headers, Footers, and Page Numbers

Page headers and footers help make content easier to follow by providing repeated information in a consistent and predictable way. The content of headers and footers varies widely but can include:

  • Document title

  • Current chapter or section in the document

  • Page numbers, such as "Page 3 of 12"

  • Author

  • Date

  • Document version

You can provide page headers and footers by structuring them directly in the authoring tool. However, once you convert to PDF, headers and footers will not be tagged and will be invisible to screen readers unless you then tag them.

There is no special tag for Document Header or Footer. These content items should be tagged as either Paragraphs or Artifacts, depending on the situation.

For example, you might have a company name as the header on all pages. A user wouldn’t want to hear this info redundantly. So you could mark the first instance of it as a Paragraph and all others on subsequent pages as Artifacts. Or you might have a title page that contains all of the info from the header and footer. In this case, you could mark the header and footer on all pages as Artifacts.

On the other hand, you might have page numbers in the footer. A user would want to hear them to know where they are in the document. To do this, mark these as Paragraphs.

It boils down to this:

  • Tag meaningful information as paragraphs

  • Tag redundant information as artifacts

Step-by-Step Guide to Adding Headers and Footers in Adobe Acrobat

  1. Click the Edit PDF Tool and select Header & Footer.

    Edit PDF Tool in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Edit Button colored blue.

    The Add Header and Footer Panel will appear. It will give you options to change your fonts, margin sizes, and the ability to add text for your headers or footers.

    Add header and footer box. Font Arial, Size 8.
  3. If you want your PDF page numbers to be visible, click Insert Page Number. If you want to add a date to your header or footer, click Insert Date.

    Left Footer Text, Insert Page Number button at the bottom right corner.
    Center Footer Text, Insert Date Button in the bottom right corner.
  4. Make changes until you are satisfied with the results.