Links must have alternate replacement text

Rule ID: alt-text-links
Ruleset: axe-pdf 2.0
User Impact: Moderate
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (A), WCAG 2.0 (A)

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (A)]

  • 2.4.4: MUST: Link Purpose (In Context)

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 2.4.4: MUST: Link Purpose (In Context)

How to Fix the Problem

Provide alternate text for links.

In Acrobat Adobe Pro:

  1. In the View menu, open the Tag panel by selecting Navigation Panels > Tags.
  2. Locate the Link tag in the tag tree, access the context menu for the link, and select Properties.
  3. In the TouchUp Properties dialog, in the Tags tab, enter replacement text in the Alternate Text field. Screen readers will read this text instead of the entire URI.

Note: Adobe Acrobat Pro is the most common tool for PDF remediations, but other tools and software are also available and can be used to remediate the PDF.

Why it Matters

Screen readers can read visible link text, but replacing the screen text with meaningful alternate text for links in a PDF document can make links more accessible.

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.

Authors can replace the default link text by providing an /Alt entry for the Link tag. When the Link tag has an /Alt entry, screen readers ignore the value of any visible text objects in the Link tag and use the /Alt entry value for the link text.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Links in PDF documents must have alternate replacement text


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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