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Session #2 in the PDF Accessibility Basics Webinar Series covered PDF functionality topics including creating and finding tags, and using the Action Wizard Tool, Touch Up Reading Order Tool, and the Order and Content Panels. This post shares answers to audience questions we weren’t able to get to during the live presentation.

Webinar Q&A

Q: Can’t find the tag tree. Where is it?

A: You can open the tag tree by going to View > Show/Hide > Navigation Panels > Tags or by right-clicking the navigation pane on the left and selecting the Tags icon.

Q: Is there a difference between putting a blank line as Background vs. simply deleting the tag? Is there value in keeping it?

A: If you just delete the tag Adobe’s Accessibility Full Check will flag it as untagged content. If you tag it as background it will not be flagged.

Q: Can you remove the tag for blank spaces instead of tagging it as a background?

A: If the tag is deleted Adobe’s Accessibility Full Check will flag it as untagged content.

Q: Read order vs. tag order: I have heard different thing regarding whether the read order panel really fixes order concerns.  This didn’t fully answer that question.

A: The order of elements in the Order panel and the order of the tags in the Tag panel need to match the reading order of the page. When they do not match you will not get a consistent reading of the document. JAWS uses the order of the tags but other technologies like Read Out Loud use the order of the Order Panel.

Q: Read order: does not affect tag order and thus does not fix order for JAWS users?

A: Correct. Typically, I first make sure the Tags are in proper order then use the Order panel to make sure the read order is correct.

Q: If your reading order isn’t sequential, how do you reorder so the text reads top to bottom and left to right?

A: You can click and drag (or cut and paste) the elements in the Order Panel to get them to match the visual order.

Q: But does dragging in Read Order panel re-order the actual tags?

A: The actual tags order is independent of the Order Panel.

Q: What is the correct way to tag bullets?

A: The list tag begins with <L> which contains multiple <LI> and each <LI> contains a <Lbl> with the bullet and a <LBody> with the textual elements.

Q: Should page numbers be tagged as background?

A: Screen reader users have the ability to know which PDF page they are on via the screen reader. That said, if the page numbers do not match the PDF’s page numbers (like an excerpt from a longer book) then the page number should be read.

Q: Why would page number be background – wouldn’t a screen reader user need that info?

A: If the written page numbers coincide with the PDF’d page numbers, then no. Their screen reader will read the page as they navigate through the document. If, however, the page numbers do not match the PDF’s page numbers (like an excerpt from a longer book) then the page number should be read.

Q: Do you take the table out of the document, clean it up and then put it back in?

A: I usually do not. Depending on how complicated the document is re-adding the table can cause more problems than just editing it in place. That said, there are always exceptions. If it easier to do so and it works, go for it.

Q: If a table was used for creating the layout, but is not needed to read as a table, is there a quick way to get rid of the table tag without losing the content?

A: If the table is only for formatting but it was automatically tagged as a table:

  • Delete the table and its content in the tag tree.
  • Select the entire text or the parts as appropriate to preserve the reading order.
  • Apply the proper tags using the Touch Up Reading Order Tool.

Q: Is there an even more Basic demo that you can suggest to catch us up?

A: WebAIM has a great tutorial at https://webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/

Q: When you make a bulleted list in InDesign with your own bullet, how do I maintain the Lbl designation for the bullet when the PDF is made?

A: The important thing is that the bullet is read and that the list is properly structured. If both happen then whether the bullet is in the Lbl tag or in the LBody tag is less important. Ideally the bullet would be in the Lbl tag but at the end of the day, if it reads properly and passes the accessibility checker you are good to go.

Q: How do we mark individual table cells as cells? I can only mark the headers, and then each row is counting as a single cell.

A: You can highlight the text of the cell and use the Cell button in the Touch Up Reading Order tool.