Required fields must be identified both visually and programmatically

Rule ID: required-form-controls
Ruleset: axe-pdf 2.0
User Impact: Serious
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)]

  • 3.3.2: MUST: Labels or Instructions

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 3.3.2: MUST: Labels or Instructions

How to Fix the Problem

In Adobe Acrobat Pro:

  1. Access the context menu of the field and select the Properties dialog.
  2. If the field is required, check the Required box. This checkbox forces the user to fill in the selected form field. If the user attempts to submit the form while a required field is blank, an error message appears and the empty required form field is highlighted.

In addition to the Required checkbox, mark the required fields in a way that is accessible for all users.

  • If all fields in the form are required, consider adding a note in the instructions at the top.
  • If only certain fields are required, consider marking them with an asterisk or the word (Required) in parentheses within the visible field label. Include an explanatory note in the form instructions, such as: "All fields with an asterisk are required." Then, for screen reader users, include the word (Required) in the tooltip.

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

Ensuring that users are aware that an error may occur or has occurred, and are successfully able to determine what is wrong, and can correct it are keys to software usability and accessibility. Meeting this objective helps ensure that all users can complete transactions with ease and confidence.

Rule Description

The objective of this technique is to ensure that users of assistive technology are able to perceive form control labels and understand how form controls are used.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Required fields must be identified both visually and programmatically


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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