I am not a Mac user so I am not sure that I can help, but this seems like an interesting problem. How exactly are you creating the PDF from Word? What version of Word and Acrobat Pro are you using? Any chance you could share the PDF so I could take a look? How do you or your organization define an accessible PDF - that is, do you consider "passes the Acrobat checker" good enough, or is WCAG 2.0 and/or ISO 14289 compliance your goal?
a 'C' student
Hi 'C' student, thank you for responding!
So (because I'm a Mac user) I have to use both Word for Mac (2011) and Word for PC (latest version) to be able to properly export Word docs to PDF. I basically check the Word doc structure on my Mac, transfer it from Mac to PC, then use PC version to "Export to Adobe PDF" (this feature isn't yet available on Mac version). I then bring the PDF back over to my Mac and clean up the structure in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (I'm a CC subscriber, so it's a continuous version).
Unfortunately I'm not authorized to share this particular document as I'm not the primary author (I consult for a not-for-profit) and it's not yet published. Just passing the accessibility checker is not enough - we are trying to be WCAG 2.0 compliant. The accessibility checker tool is somewhat helpful, but I've found glitches with it in the past and just had to rely on my knowledge of tagging structures to be sure the documents will run through screen reader programs and transfer to mobile tech okay... I need to invest in JAWS eventually as a second screening tool, just haven't done that yet.
If you have any insight/recommendations it'd be greatly appreciated (but I realize this will be difficult given I can't pass off the document to you to recreate/demonstrate the problem I'm having).
An oft ignored unpleasantness is that WCAG won't get you all the way there for a fully accessible PDF.
For that you'd first use ISO 14289-1 (soon to be "-2" <g>) then drop in to WCAG to address that which is not specifically "PDF" but present in/on the page content.
Remember, ISO 14289-1, PDF/UA is built on ISO 32000-1 (PDF-Reference ISO Standard) with particular focus from Clause 14. Review these to assure you actually have the straight skinny on use/build of the Link element/tag.
As to Acrobat's PDF Checker -- Always a good first check but keep in mind the disclaimer that is present in the tool's active window - essentially the checker does not assure an Accessible PDF.
Follow up with the use of Samuel's "PAC" tool.
As to AT screen reader. Make NVDA your "go to" tool. Open source, Free, & the reason that JAWS has had improvements over the last several years (competition does have an impact - sometimes).
Your recommendations are a HUGE help. I'll check out those resources today and access NVDA. It's funny I hadn't been recommended to use it in the past. I'm not sure my friends with sight issues are aware of it - I'll have to mention it to them!
Thank you again,