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, Karlen Communications

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. has been working in the field of accessible document design since 1999. She began her career in website accessibility and auditing and moved to accessible Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents in 2004. Karen is:

A Canadian delegate of the ISO 14289 or PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility) committee and has been for a number of years. A Canadian delegate to the ISO 32000 PDF committee. A Microsoft MVP for Word (Most Valued Professional) since 2009. A Microsoft Accessibility MVP since 2017 when this category of MVP was established.

Karen has written several books on the topic of accessible document design for Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents as well as smaller publications with specific techniques for working with Office applications if you are using adaptive technology and/or the keyboard.

Karen is the president of Karlen Communications.