Picto thématique

Rule n° 233 - The text of internal PDF documents can be selected.

A PDF document can contain text either as actual text or as an image in the case, for example, where it would be a scanned document. Be aware that the content of such a document will not be indexed by search engines, or manipulated (to copy, for example), nor accessible to screen readers.

#Accessibility #SEO #Structure and code #Editorial


  • Enable the referencing of the contents of PDF documents.
  • Simplify the handling and reuse of the contents of PDF documents.
  • Ensure the readability of the contents of PDF documents.
  • Improve the accessibility of content for people with disabilities.
  • Improve the way content is taken into account by search engines and indexing tools.


Do not distribute PDFs resulting from the scanning of initial documents, only distribute documents converted to digital format (by OCR if necessary).


For each internal PDF document published on the website:

  • Display or open the document
  • Check that the displayed text is immediately selectable on the screen or that it can be consulted in a screen reader.

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Overview and background

The 240 Opquast rules are defined and agreed upon by an extensive community of web professionals and academics. These web quality assurance guidance rules started as a list of best practices 20 years ago. They have since been revised every five years and have been tried and tested via millions of web interactions by Opquast community’s customers, including the leading CMS communities which have developed plugins for WordPress, Drupal and Prestashop. The most recent version, v4, was established in 2020.

Each rule has individual technical sheets and the rules can be searched by project phase or various topics: e-commerce, data-privacy, internationalization, security, code, etc, or by themes: accessibility, SEO, mobile, privacy, and ecodesign. The complete checklist is available on a creative commons license BY-SA.

To learn more about the Opquast approach, read this article published at Smashing Magazine

Broad application and benefits

The rules should be applied to your projects from the design phase through to post-implementation , and they should be understood by all professionals with web and customer experience (CX) responsibilities: from strategy to operations, marketers to project managers, and editorial to technical staff. The benefits of using this ruleset are numerous, including improving customer satisfaction, web performance, and e-commerce, and expanding your client base, while also decreasing your errors and costs.

Multidisciplinary verticles - accessiiblity, SEO, e-commerce, ecodesign etc..- starting from the foundational Opquast base.

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The objective of these rules and the Opquast community mission is ‘making the web better’ for your customers and for everyone! Opquast rules cover the key major areas of risk that can negatively affect website users such as privacy, ecodesign, accessibility and security.

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