PDF document

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PDF stands for Portable Document Format and it is a file format used to produce electronic documents so that display would be independent of the software or hardware used. However, it cannot be adjusted to user needs and at the present time the structure of formulae are not retained by PDF. That is, the structure of all mathematical formulae is lost as soon as the document is converted to be a PDF.

Assistive technology such as Screen Readers or Text-to-speech cannot read aloud formulae in this format.

On this site we use PDF (figure) to refer to PDF files which contain only a single image and text labels.


This resource format demonstrates the following concepts:

Further information

Further information and examples suitable for all may be available. Further details about this resource format are available for:

Format used by

PDF document is not known to be an input format. PDF document is an output format from:

Example of loss of formulae structure

Below is a video of a PDF containing formulae being read aloud by Adobe Acrobat Reader. Using any of method of reading aloud will result in the same or worse output as the information required by the software is not present in the PDF.

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