One of our clients requested a strict formatting for their T&C and Privacy Policy documents so I suggested opening the entire document as a PDF instead so that the formatting is maintained (not embedded but just open the PDF in the browser).

My only concern is would there be any accessibility issues with this solution? Since it's an important document that should be accessible at all times by everyone.

  • I have lots of questions about this: What about their formatting forces you to use a PDF instead of live text? Why are they insisting on strict formatting? Does the formatting match the rest of the site? How is the site going to be used? I don't think a PDF is the answer but I would need to find out more to solve the real problem of producing something that suits the client, the budget, and the users. Commented May 31, 2018 at 7:19
  • I had similar questions as @AndrewMartin regarding why any special formatting couldn't be maintained in html/css. But in any event, providing a PDF would be accessible provided it's properly tagged (pdf/ua). Commented May 31, 2018 at 16:10
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    I would be concerned that this could be a legal issue too. People will only be able to read the T&Cs if they have the right software on their device to do so. Don't assume everyone has a PDF viewer. No all mobile devices do, for instance.
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 9:08
  • Also there is potential risk of somebody having downloaded an outdated version of the T&C. That will not be an issue with a HTML version.
    – Anders
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 7:53
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    @JonW I don't know if it's still the case, but it made me "smile" some years ago when "the most obvious" version of Adobe's privacy policy for Acrobat Reader was a PDF... can't remember if there was a non-PDF version, or (if there was) how easy it was to get to.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


On mobile devices, the structural information of a PDF document, such as headings, table of contents etc are not indicated, at least not with the default applications available. If you must use the PDF format, add an HTML version as well.

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