Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Pro DC: Nuance PowerPDF and Foxit Phantom for Business

Handouts Media

Presented at 4:20pm in Westminster II on Thursday, November 21, 2019.



  • Karen McCall, Senior Advisor, Accessible Document Design, Open Access Technologies

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


There are two alternatives to using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC for creating and remediating accessible tagged PDF documents. Nuance offers PowerPDF Advanced which incorporates a Ribbon in Office applications but is also a stand-alone tool. This session takes a look at the pros and cons of each software.


The Canadian government announced earlier this year that it was switching from Adobe Acrobat Pro to either Nuance PowerPDF Advanced or Foxit Phantom for Business as a cost saving measure. This session takes a look at all three software tools and identifies the pros and cons of each and how to use all of them as part of a strategy to reduce the remediation time for PDF document accessibility. All three tools have Ribbons integrated into Microsoft applications as well as stand-alone applications. There is a similarity in tools with the three applications but there are some differences and of course, things are in different places. With the advent of these new tools that can Tag PDF documents and incorporate remediation and form tools, AND with both PowerPDF and Foxit being single purchase instead of subscription, there is room in our toolkits for additional or alternative tools for tagging and remediating PDF documents.


  1. There are three applications that can be used to create and remediate tagged PdF
  2. What each application can do and what they can't do...and what each might do better.
  3. Using any or all of the three applications as part of a remediation strategy for PDF

Disability Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Administrative/Campus Policy, Alternate Format, Procurement, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Karen McCall

Karen McCall, M.Ed., Senior Advisor, Open Access Technologies, has been providing a leadership role in the field of accessible document design and training on how to make digital content accessible for people with disabilities for over 20 years. She has written several books on this topic based on her experience making other people’s documents accessible to conform to laws in Canada, the US and internationally. Karen’s ground-breaking book on creating and working with tagged PDF documents, first published in 2005 is now in its fourth edition. Her books on creating accessible Word and PowerPoint content were first published in 2005 and have evolved into both updated books and self-paced online courses. She is a vocal advocate for a global inclusive education standard and the rights of people with disabilities.