How to Tag Bar Charts in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Effectively

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers tools for making bar charts accessible. There are two main methods. One method tags the whole chart as a figure. The other tags are separate text elements. Both make your charts easier for Assistive Technology users.

Video Overview

Steps for Tagging Bar Charts in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Method 1: Individual Text Elements

Sometimes it simply makes more sense to tag all of the individual components as P tags.

  • Use the Reading Order Tool.
  • Select text, mark it as “Text Paragraph” (p tag).
  • For numbers, also mark as “Text Paragraph.”
  • For data labels, make them “Heading Level 2” or “3.”
  • Add ‘Actual Text’ for context in properties.
tagging labels and data as P tags

Example: For a bar showing 75% “Very Likely”, right-click p tag -> select properties -> add actual text “75% of respondents selected very likely.”

 For a bar showing 75% "Very Likely", right-click p tag -> select properties -> add actual text "75% of respondents selected very likely."

Method 2: Tagging The Entire Chart as a Figure

In certain cases, you might find it easier to tag the entire chart as a single figure. Grab your Reading Order Tool and select the entire chart. Once selected, mark it as a “Figure” and provide alternate text that describes the data in detail. However, this method is less ideal for complex bar charts with multiple data points and categories. It’s more suited to simple, straightforward bar charts.

Additional Points to Consider:

  1. Color Contrast: If your bar chart uses colors, check that they have a sufficient contrast ratio to meet accessibility standards.
  2. Tag Order: Once you’ve tagged your elements, ensure they are in a logical reading order for Assistive Technology users.

With either method, the goal remains the same: making your bar chart accessible to as many people as possible, including those using Assistive Technology.


Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers the flexibility to make your bar charts accessible, whether they are simple or complex. By carefully tagging text elements or tagging the entire chart as a figure, you’re taking important steps toward making your content inclusive.

So, whether you have complex charts with numerous data points or simpler figures, you have the tools at your fingertips to make them accessible. Choose the method that works best for your specific needs and keep making strides in inclusivity.

Need more PDF help? Check out my other blog posts on PDF Accessibility.

How to Make Complex Tables Accessible in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

This post will go over how to tag complex tables in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. There is a dedicated section on this site on how to tag tables, but this is a bit of a deeper dive and provides some extra practice!

Would you like The Accessibility Guy to do the heavy lifting for you?

Video Overview

Making Complex Tables Accessible: Setting the Base Structure

To begin, you must create a baseline structure. If the document doesn’t have tags, use the auto tagger. This feature helps identify parts of the table and labels them. In this video, we are using the new API Cloud-based tagging.

Tweaking Table Headers for Better Accessibility

A key challenge with complex tables is unclear headers. To fix this, you can use the edit PDF function to add hidden text as headers. Make the font white so it blends with the background. Then, you can tag this new text to act as the table header. Remember to change the tag from TD to TH to make it a proper header. This step is covered in the video above.

Techniques to Improve Table Structure

  1. Remove Unrelated Content: If the table has unrelated headers, move them out. Change their tags to act as higher-level headings.
  2. Adjust Scope: Set the scope for rows and columns. This helps assistive technologies understand the table.
  3. Use Table Editor: The table editor feature helps check and adjust header settings.
  4. Add Table Summary: Always include a table summary. It helps with understanding the table’s purpose.

Final Checks and Testing

After making changes, run the built-in accessibility checker in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. This checks for any missing features like table summaries. Tools like PAC 2021 checker can also be used to validate if the table is fully accessible.


Making tables in PDFs accessible may seem daunting. But with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, it becomes manageable. Follow these best practices to ensure your content is accessible to everyone.

Adobe Acrobat Auto Tagging API for Accessibility

Understanding Adobe Acrobat’s New Auto Tagging API for Accessibility

Adobe Acrobat has added a new feature to its accessibility toolkit: the Auto Tagging API. This tool aids in making PDF documents more accessible. If you’re wondering how to leverage this feature to improve document accessibility, this post is for you.

Video Overview

Enabling the Auto Tagging API Feature

The first step is straightforward but crucial—activating the Auto Tagging API. To do this, select the menu button in Adobe Acrobat and navigate to Preferences.

Select Menu, and then preferences

Once the Preferences window is open, go to the Accessibility tab. Locate the option that says “Enable cloud-based auto tagging for accessibility.” Select this option and click OK. Now the feature is ready to be used.

Once the Preferences window is open, go to the Accessibility tab. Locate the option that says "Enable cloud-based auto tagging for accessibility." Select this option and click OK. Now the feature is ready to be used.

How Does Adobe Acrobat Auto Tagging API Work?

Tagging Structure

After enabling, open your PDF document and run the Auto Tagging API. What happens next is what sets this feature apart from its predecessors. The tool takes a proactive approach to organize and tag various elements in your document. These elements can range from text blocks to images to headers and lists. The result is a series of nested tags under a primary ‘document’ tag. While it might not be perfect, the structure it provides is a significant improvement over manual tagging or using older automated methods.

Additional Features

Adobe’s Auto Tagging API also introduces ‘aside’ tags. These are particularly helpful for content that sits on the sidebars of your document. The feature recognizes such content and tags it differently, making it easier for readers using screen readers to navigate the document effectively.

List and Table Tagging

It’s also worth noting that the Auto Tagging API attempts to correctly tag lists and tables in your document. However, it’s not infallible; you might need to do some minor tweaking to get these tags perfect. For instance, tables might not have their headers correctly tagged, and lists could have incorrect list-item tags.

The Importance of Reviewing Tags

Once you’ve run the Auto Tagging API feature, it’s vital to review the tags. This helps you ensure that everything is tagged appropriately, as the system isn’t flawless. While images and figures are tagged, they may not have alternate text, which is crucial for accessibility. Similarly, tables often lack properly tagged headers. These are minor issues that can easily be fixed manually.

Improving the Reading Flow

The ‘aside’ tags, as previously mentioned, are useful for segregating sidebar content. However, their placement can be adjusted to improve the overall reading flow of your document. For example, you can move the ‘aside’ tag to the end of the paragraph where the sidebar content ends. This will make the document easier to navigate for those using screen readers. Of course this is just an example from the document used in the video.

Final Thoughts on Adobe Acrobat’s Auto Tagging API for Accessibility

Adobe Acrobat’s Auto Tagging API improves PDF accessibility. It offers cleaner, more organized tagging than older methods. While not flawless, the feature reduces manual work and moves us toward effortless accessibility.

Additional Posts

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Adobe Acrobat’s New Accessibility Features

Adobe has laid the groundwork for some major new features in the future. Check out the latest post on the New Auto Tagging Feature.

Video Overview:

Exploring the Adobe Acrobat New Accessibility Features

Adobe Acrobat has launched its latest version, packed with innovative features, especially in the accessibility department. The changes start with the menu items, which have been relocated. For example, the tags panel and other essential accessibility elements are now on the far right side of the screen.

the tags menu

Should you find your tags button missing, a simple right-click and selection of accessibility tags will do the trick.

Right click the far panel and select accessibility tags

The update also brings the read order panel, content panel, hyperlink updates, bookmark reviews, and alternate description fields for links over to the right side of the screen!

One notable feature is the cloud-based auto-tagging for accessibility. This newly added capability seems to outperform the old auto-tagging. To enable this feature, select Menu > Preferences. And then:

  1. Select the Accessibility Tab
  2. Select the checkbox for “Enable Cloud-based auto-tagging for accessibility”.
Select the Accessibility Tab

Select the checkbox for "Enable Cloud-based auto-tagging for accessibility".

Additionally, a PDF UA compliance option has been added under the Document Properties in the Advanced tab, signifying possible future expansions.

PDF ua compliance drop down menu

Enhancements in Adobe Acrobat: Navigating the Accessibility Elements

The latest version has not just shuffled things around but also added many improvements. The page count is now on the far right, along with the document rotating and zooming functions.

The tools menu is rebranded, with new names and a more organized structure. Editing tools are consolidated in one place, and it seems like the interface has become much easier to manage.

New tools menu

There’s also a refresh on the Quick Access Toolbar, which allows for customizations like adding an accessibility full check. You can now run an accessibility check on a document, reflecting the changes on the right-hand side.

Customizing the Quick access tool bar

With Adobe’s new facelift, document accessibility has taken a significant step forward, offering a variety of options to manage and update documents.

More PDF posts

Canva PDFs are not accessible

This post aims to explore how Canva PDFs are not accessible to people with disabilities. It seems like such a basic need at this point for any modern website to allow for exporting…


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Canva PDFs are not accessible

This post aims to explore how Canva PDFs are not accessible to people with disabilities. It seems like such a basic need at this point for any modern website to allow for exporting with a structure in place. This simply is not the case for Canva PDFs.

Would you rather just have me make your Canva doc exports accessible for you?

Video Overview of the Problem

The basic premise is that PDFs that are exported from Canva do NOT retain much of the style that is applied on the back end. The good news is that it seems with each passing month, the quality is getting better. As of now, there are multiple steps required to get the PDF ready before it can be made accessible.

The Errors / Problems with exporting

  • The PDFs come through with No tags in many situations.
  • The reading order tool can cause issues.
  • There is extra content that comes through that can be difficult to tag.

One Solution

This video will show how to get the PDF remediation ready. The secret tip is to use the Print to PDF functionality within Adobe Acrobat. Check it out:

This video provides guidance on how to get a tag structure into the document, how to move tags, how to artifact content, use the reading order tool, and adding a link.

Be sure to check out our PDF remediation section while your at it!

When a PDF is not accessible, it creates a variety of problems and barriers, particularly for individuals with disabilities. Here’s an overview of what happens and why it’s a concern:

  • Screen Reader Incompatibility: Individuals who are visually impaired often rely on screen readers to interpret the text within documents. If a PDF is not tagged correctly or lacks the proper structure, screen readers may be unable to read the content, or they may read it in the wrong order, rendering the information unintelligible.
  • Navigation Challenges: An inaccessible PDF might not support easy navigation, making it difficult for people to jump to specific sections, headings, or links within the document. This can be particularly problematic for individuals using assistive technologies.
  • Lack of Alternative Text for Images: If images within the PDF don’t have alternative text descriptions, individuals who are blind or visually impaired won’t have access to the information conveyed through those images.
  • Incompatibility with Assistive Technologies: Individuals with motor disabilities may use various assistive technologies to interact with digital content. An inaccessible PDF might not be compatible with these tools, making it difficult or impossible for these individuals to access the content.
  • Legal Compliance Issues: Many jurisdictions have legal requirements related to accessibility (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S.), and failing to make content accessible can lead to legal consequences.
  • Loss of Audience: By not making PDFs accessible, content creators risk alienating a significant portion of their audience. This can lead to reduced readership, customer dissatisfaction, and potential harm to an organization’s reputation.
  • Educational Barriers: In educational settings, inaccessible PDFs can create barriers to learning for students with disabilities, hindering their academic progress and creating an unequal learning environment.
  • Workplace Inequity: In the workplace, inaccessible documents can prevent employees with disabilities from performing their tasks efficiently, leading to inequality and discrimination.
  • Difficulty in Editing and Repurposing Content: Inaccessible PDFs can also be more challenging to edit and repurpose, as the lack of structure and tagging may complicate the process of extracting and reusing content.
  • Negative SEO Impact: Search engines may have difficulty indexing the content within an inaccessible PDF, which can lead to lower search rankings and reduced visibility online.

In summary, an inaccessible PDF doesn’t just create challenges for individuals with disabilities; it can also have broader legal, social, and financial implications. Making PDFs accessible is not merely a matter of compliance or technical correctness; it’s about inclusivity, equality, and ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can access the information they need.

Making Accessible Presentations with Canva

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How to break up a PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

This post will explore the extract feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro which will help users break up a PDF into smaller files. But first, here is a video overview of roughly 5:30 minutes.

Text overview of how to break up a pdf

If you have PDF that has several hundred pages in it you may want to break up the file. In this case, I need a large textbook broken down into smaller segments or chapters so that I can further manipulate the files.

If your file has crop marks, make sure to check this other post on how to fix that problem first. Coming Soon.

Before we can begin, make sure you have added your organize pages button to your tools panel.

Step 1

Select the organize pages button from the tools panel on the right side of the screen

organize pages button

Step 2

Select the page thumbnails of the pages you want to have as a separate file. In this case, I am selecting the “front material” content first.

Select the page thumbnails of the pages you want to have as a separate file.

Step 3

Select the extract button and choose delete pages after extracting, and then extract. This will separate the file from the large file. You will then have your extracted pages and the original files minus the extracted files.

Select the extract button and choose delete pages after extracting, and then extract.

Step 4

Save the file and repeat!

In the video at the start of this blog, I continue this process and end up with a book that had 150 pages in it broken down into 10 files.

Now that I have these pdfs, I can do a variety of things with them including:

Path Object not tagged | PDF / UA

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Enhancing PDF Accessibility: Implementing Alternate Text

Video Overview:

In the rapidly evolving digital era, the need for accessibility in all forms of content, including PDFs, is increasingly crucial. To bridge the accessibility gap, setting alternate text within a PDF is a method that cannot be overlooked. This blog post provides a step-by-step guide to this process.

First Step: Tagging Images as Figure Tag

The initial approach to set alternate text involves ensuring that all the images in your PDF are tagged as a figure tag. Once they are tagged, simply navigate to the tags panel, right-click the figure tag, and select the properties button. This action opens up a section where you can input a description in the “alternate text for images” field.

Quick and Efficient Methods: Using the Accessibility Button

A faster way to set alternate text for multiple images simultaneously is by utilizing the ‘accessibility’ button. Clicking this option reveals an ‘Set alternate text’ command. Once activated, the system automatically detects all figures in the document and displays them alongside an associated text box.

This method streamlines the alternate text setting process and is particularly handy for documents containing numerous images.

The alternate text can be anything from a simple description of the image, like “a forest with Giant Sequoias” or “two robotic hands reaching towards each other,” to more complex annotations depending on the image’s content and context.

It’s vital to remember that images containing text should include the exact text as part of the alternate text, enhancing accessibility for visually impaired users who may rely on screen readers to access the document’s content.

Document Remediation: A Viable Alternate Option

Though learning to set alternate text within a PDF could be a valuable skill, you might prefer to invest your time elsewhere. For those who want to increase their PDF’s accessibility but don’t have the time or inclination to do it themselves, document remediation services are available.

These services take over the task of making a PDF accessible, freeing up your time for other endeavors. However, if you’re inclined to get your hands dirty and prefer doing it yourself, follow the steps outlined in this blog post or explore other resources for a more comprehensive learning experience.

How to edit forms created from Livecycle designer (AEM) in Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

This video will bypass some security settings set by Livecycle Designer. We can easily update these documents in adobe acrobat – but there is no going back to designer after this step!

Welcome to this enriching tutorial that dives into the realm of Updating Adobe LiveCycle Designer Metadata. Are you struggling to make changes in the Adobe LiveCycle Designer in Adobe Acrobat? Let me share with you a smart workaround that will save the day.

Why Can’t I Edit Metadata in Adobe LiveCycle Designer?

Adobe LiveCycle Designer is a brilliant tool for creating dynamic documents and forms with sophisticated graphical interfaces. But if you’ve ever tried to update the metadata of a file created in LiveCycle Designer, you may have been surprised to find the usually editable fields are locked away behind grey boxes. Even running the accessibility checker fails to allow changes such as setting the primary language. And it turns out, document security settings are the party pooper here, forbidding you from making the desired changes. This brings us to an essential question – how can we circumvent these restrictions?

The Brilliant Trick: Extracting the Page for Updating Adobe LiveCycle Designer Metadata

The solution is surprisingly simple: extract the page from the original document. Let’s delve into this neat trick.

  1. Extract the page: First, you need to navigate to the ‘Tools’ button, select ‘Organized Pages’, and finally hit ‘Extract’. Remember to mark the checkbox to extract it as a separate file. Choose your desired location to save this extracted file.
  2. Edit the Metadata: Now comes the exciting part. Open the extracted document, navigate to File Properties, and voila! The once uneditable areas are now open for you to tweak. Update the title, author, subject, and keywords as per your requirements.
  3. Run the Accessibility Checker: After updating the metadata, you can run the Accessibility Checker again. Now you can modify elements like the reading language and tab order by simply right-clicking the error and selecting ‘Fix’.

Remember to save your changes! And there you have it, the elegant solution to updating Adobe LiveCycle Designer Metadata – by extracting the page as an individual file. This simple step gives you the freedom to make any changes you desire, enhancing the accessibility of your document.

Tackling the OCCD Key Error in PAC 2021 for PDF/UA Compliance

Welcome to your comprehensive guide for tackling the complex issue of PDF/UA compliance testing. Today, we will focus on a unique error you might encounter – the OCCD (Optional Content Configuration Dictionary) Key Error in PAC (PDF Accessibility Checker) 2021. Let’s dive in!

Video Overview

Identifying the OCCD Key Error in PAC 2021

While conducting PDF/UA compliance tests using the PAC 2021 tool, you may come across an issue named “OCCD Optional Content Configuration Dictionary contains as key”. This peculiar problem is unique to PDF / UA compliance.

The OCCD Key error may seem complex but fear not, we have a foolproof method to address this using the Preflight menu.

Utilizing the Preflight Menu to Fix the OCCD Key Error

Follow these steps to navigate the error:

  1. In Adobe Acrobat, navigate to ‘More Tools’.
  2. Add ‘Print Production’ to your tools panel.
  3. Select ‘Print Production’, then click on ‘Preflight’. This will present a range of potential fixes for your file.
  4. Look for the little wrench icon which denotes a ‘Single Fix’. Click on it.
  5. In the search bar, type ‘flatten’.
  6. The option we are looking for is “Discard hidden layer content and flatten visible layers”. All objects on currently invisible layers will be discarded, and all layers, including the visible ones, are flattened.
  7. Select this option and click ‘Fix’.
  8. Save your file when prompted.

Verifying the Solution

To check if the error is resolved, test your newly saved file with the PAC 2021 tool. Drag and drop the file into the tool and if all goes well, the troublesome OCCD Key Error should have disappeared.

Resolving the OCCD Key Error in PAC 2021 is just one step towards achieving complete PDF/UA compliance. It’s a process, but with patience and the right know-how, you can conquer it.

If you found this guide helpful, don’t hesitate to share it with others who may be facing the same challenges. We’d also love to hear from you about any other issues you’re encountering with your PDFs. Remember, accessibility is our collective responsibility and together, we can make content more accessible for everyone.