Alternate text should be present for link annotations

Rule ID: alt-link-annotation
Ruleset: axe-pdf 2.0
User Impact: Critical
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (A), WCAG 2.0 (A), PDF/UA

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)
  • PDF/UA

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (A)]

  • 2.4.4: SHOULD: Link Purpose (In Context)

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 2.4.4: SHOULD: Link Purpose (In Context)

    How to Fix the Problem

    In Adobe Acrobat Pro:

    1. Right click on the Link tag and choose Properties.
    2. Within the Object Properties, under the Tag tab, choose Edit Tag.
    3. Navigate to the Object Dictionary within the Tag Element and click New Item.
    4. In the Key field, type “Contents”. In the Value field, type your alternate link description. In the Value Type field, select “String” from the drop-down menu.

    Why it Matters

    Screen readers are able to read visible link text, but in certain cases an additional link description is needed if the link text is ambiguous (i.e. “click here”).

    Rule Description

    Links in PDF documents are represented by a Link tag and objects in its sub-tree, consisting of a link object reference (or Link annotation) and one or more text objects. The text object or objects inside the Link tag are used by assistive technologies to provide a name for the link. (Source: Technique PDF13)

    The Algorithm (in simple terms)

    If the visible link text is unclear, add a link description within the Contents key.


    Other Resources

    You may also want to check out these other resources.

    Refer to the complete list of axe 2.0 rules.

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