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!

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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.

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Turn PDF Math into Accessible Word Docs with MathPix

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Faculty Guide: Preparing for an Accessible Semester

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Making Accessible Presentations with Canva

This video and post will provide an overview of how to use Canva AI to create a presentation, export it to PDF, and then make it accessible.

Utilizing Canva for Accessible Presentations

Canva, a popular design tool, offers the ability to create presentations. The process starts by selecting a blank presentation and utilizing Canva’s magic Design button. A small window prompts the user to describe the presentation topic.

Canva Magic AI

By selecting a theme around “accessibility section 508 design principles,” Canva provides a choice of styles. The creator can select one that passes color contrast requirements and create the presentation.

The created presentation in the video covers various aspects such as:

  • Introduction to accessibility in Section 508 design principles.
  • The law of Section 508 and its necessity.
  • Principles of design include text alternatives for non-text content, keyboard interface functionality, and effective use of color and contrast.
  • Techniques to ensure accessibility, benefits of designing for accessibility, and the importance of various elements like high contrast colors, alternate text images, descriptive link tags, keyboard navigation, and using headings and lists.

Making a Canva Presentation Accessible with PDF/UA

After creating a presentation in Canva, the file can be downloaded as PDF standard. The accessibility review involves opening the tags panel and addressing the tags within the document. The initial steps may involve:

  • Reordering and labeling content appropriately.
  • Artifacting irrelevant images.
  • Creating headings and lists as needed.

Accessibility checkers like Adobe’s can be utilized. Any errors identified may require manual adjustments such as creating artifacts, fixing the bounding boxes, or other logical structures. The process may also involve adding the PDF/UA identifier, and the result is a document that meets PDF/UA requirements and passes WCAG 2.1.

This comprehensive guide demonstrates how to create an AI-based presentation in Canva and make it accessible, embodying the principles of inclusivity and design thinking.

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How to create a Doc in Canva and make it accessible

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How to create a Doc in Canva and make it accessible

This post will go over how to create a doc in and export it to PDF. Then, we will make it accessible!


Please follow the steps in the video on how to create a document in Canva. The export to PDF option seems to be improving over time. Below you will find some directions on how to fix tables and list items. For more detailed posts on PDF remediation, please check out this page:

Creating the Basic Structure

Starting with Canva’s new feature that allows users to create documents, we’ll be adding various elements to test accessibility. This includes adding headers, tables, bulleted and numbered lists, and more. Our primary goal is to ensure that the document, although simple in design, complies with accessibility standards.

Exporting and Accessibility Check

Once the basic design is complete, we’ll move on to exporting the document as a PDF and conducting a comprehensive accessibility check. This involves cleaning up tag structures, making proper use of header tags, handling list items, and addressing table-related challenges.

Here’s a closer look at the process:

  1. Adding Headers: We’ll use heading level one and two to organize the content.
  2. Inserting Tables: A two by three table will be added, with cells merged as needed.
  3. Working with Lists: Both bulleted and numbered lists will be added to test them.
  4. Image and Design Elements: Random designs and images can be added to beautify the document.
  5. Exporting the File: The document will be downloaded as a PDF, following the standard procedure in Canva.
  6. Accessibility Checks in Adobe Acrobat: Extensive checks and modifications will be performed to ensure complete accessibility.

Table tag breakdown

  1. Table Parent Tag <Table>
  2. Table Row Child tag <TR>
  3. Table Header Cell <TH>
  4. Table Data Cell <TD>
  5. Table on Page
Table Parent Tag <Table>
Table Row Child tag <TR>
Table Header Cell <TH>
Table Data Cell <TD>
Table on Page

Setting the Scope of Table Headers

With the reading order tool open, right-click on the table and select “Table Editor.” Select all table header cells at the top of the table, right-click and select “Table Cell Properties,” and change the scope from none to “Column.” If you have table headers on the row side, you can set the scope to “Row” as needed.

  1. Launch Reading order tool
  2. Right-click inside of the table and select Table editor
table editor
  1. Select the cells you want to set the scope for
  2. Right-click and select table cell properties
  3. Adjust the scope to either row, column, or both
setting the scope

How to tag a list in adobe acrobat pro

  1. List Parent Tag <L>
  2. List Item Child Tag <LI>
  3. Label <Lbl>
  4. List Body child Tag <LBody>
  5. Contents of First list item
  6. List item content on page
List Parent Tag <L>

List Item Child Tag <LI>

Label <Lbl>

List Body child Tag <LBody>

Contents of First list item

List item content on page

Step 1: Prepare the PDF and Create a Blank List Tag

Open your PDF document in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

  1. Right-click in the Tags panel
  2. Select “New Tag,”
  3. Create a blank List tag (capital “L”).

If you would rather an expert make your docs accessible for you instead – check this out.

Right-click in the Tags panel

Select "New Tag,"

Create a blank List tag (capital "L").

Step 2: Create List Item Tags and Nest Them

Manually create list item (LI) tags and nest them within the List tag. To do this, right-click the List tag, select “New Tag,” and type “LI” (capital “L” and “I”).

LI tags

Step 3: Add Label and L Body Tags

For each LI tag, create Label (LBL) and L Body tags. Right-click each LI tag, select “New Tag,” and type “Lbl” for Label and “LBody” for LBody tags. Drag and drop these tags into their appropriate locations within the LI tags.

List tag

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.

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Path Object not tagged | PDF / UA

Welcome to the world of document accessibility! Today, we’ll demystify a common issue that plagues many users – the ‘Path Object Not Tagged’ error – especially when working with Adobe…

Table Header Cell Has No Associated Sub Cells

Welcome to an in-depth exploration of a specific issue related to PDF/UA compliance testing, known as the ‘Table Header Cell Has No Associated Sub Cells’ error. This error often comes up when using the PAC 2021 checker, and today, we’re going to walk you through how to address it.

Video Overview

This video will provide an overview of this post but in video format.

Understanding the ‘Table Header Cell Has No Associated Sub Cells’ Error

When you test a sample file with the PAC 2021 tool, and delve into the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) under ‘Perceivable’ and ‘Adaptable’ and then into ‘Info and Relationships’, you may encounter an error called ‘Table Header Cell Assignments’. Essentially, this error occurs when your table header cells lack associated sub cells.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Resolving the Error

Resolving this issue is not as daunting as it may seem. By using Adobe Acrobat’s ‘Table Editor’, you can easily tackle this error. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Open your sample file in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Access the ‘Table Editor’ by selecting the ‘Accessibility’ button, then the ‘Reading Order’ button. This allows you to right-click inside your table and select ‘Table Editor’.
  3. Notice that a header row is applied to your table. Right-click on the table and select ‘Auto Generate Header Cell IDs’. This action will assign a unique name to each individual cell.
  4. To add more specificity, you can manually input names as the header cell ID such as ‘Course Name’, ‘Faculty’, ‘Summary’, and ‘Code’ by right-clicking and selecting ‘Table Cell Properties’.
  5. Now, assign the scope to all these headers by selecting them while holding the ‘Shift’ key. Open ‘Table Cell Properties’ again, change the scope from ‘None’ to ‘Column’, and select ‘OK’.
  6. Finally, you’ll need to assign individual cells to their respective header cells. This can be done by selecting the cells under each header name, right-clicking, and choosing ‘Table Cell Properties’. Under ‘Associated Header Cell IDs’, select the ‘+’ button, choose the appropriate header ID, and select ‘OK’.
  7. Once you’ve assigned all your cells, save your file.

Verifying the Solution

Test your newly saved file with the PAC 2021 tool one more time. You should now see a green checkmark next to ‘Table Header Cell Assignments’ under WCAG, indicating that the ‘Table Header Cell Has No Associated Sub Cells’ error is resolved.

The Importance of This Fix

While this specific error is not a required criterion for passing Adobe Acrobat or Section 508 checks, ensuring full compliance with PDF/UA and WCAG checks can greatly enhance user experience, especially for those using assistive technology. So, always put in the extra effort when possible, as it creates a more inclusive digital environment.

If you found this guide helpful, be sure to share it with others and stay tuned for more insights on creating accessible digital content.

Going the Extra Mile for Accessibility

Remember that accessibility isn’t just about meeting the minimum requirements – it’s about striving for full inclusion. Providing tables with properly associated header cells and sub cells can make a significant difference for users who rely on assistive technology. Not only does it allow these users to better understand the structure and content of your tables, but it also provides a smoother, more intuitive experience when navigating your PDFs.

So, while the steps we’ve discussed are technically only necessary for full PDF/UA and WCAG compliance, they’re best practice for any PDF you’re creating. Let’s all make the extra effort to ensure our digital content is as accessible as possible.

Your Personal Accessibility Expert

Navigating the world of digital accessibility can be complex, but guides like this can help. Consider subscribing and checking out our other content for more insights into PDF/UA compliance, the PAC 2021 checker, and more.

Encountering other problems when working with your PDFs? Be sure to drop a comment or get in touch – we’re here to help you resolve any issues and improve your knowledge of accessibility. Check out our channel to find out how we can support you in different ways.

We appreciate you joining us in this journey towards a more accessible digital world. Thank you for being part of the solution, and we look forward to seeing you in our next guide.

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Path Object not tagged | PDF / UA

Welcome to the world of document accessibility! Today, we’ll demystify a common issue that plagues many users – the ‘Path Object Not Tagged’ error – especially when working with Adobe Acrobat and files exported from InDesign.

Video Overview

Understanding the ‘Path Object Not Tagged’ Error

This error is frequently reported by the PAC 2021 checker, a tool that checks the accessibility of PDF files. During a check, you might come across a list of issues under the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) criteria. One of these is likely the ‘Path Object Not Tagged’ error.

So, what’s happening here? In this context, path objects typically refer to specific lines within a table exported from InDesign. They are recognized as objects that require tagging, but this process can be quite cumbersome and, unfortunately, it often gets overlooked, resulting in the aforementioned error.

Tackling the Issue Head-On

To address this issue, let’s look at a step-by-step process using an example document exported from InDesign and now open in Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open the ‘Content’ panel located on the far left side of Adobe Acrobat. This allows you to review all the content present on each page.
  2. As you inspect each page, you’ll likely notice a plethora of ‘Path’ tags.
  3. Begin by selecting all these ‘Path’ tags.
  4. With the path objects selected, right-click and choose ‘Create Artifacts’.
  5. Confirm by selecting ‘OK’.

Checking the Results and Final Thoughts

Having made these changes, save and close your file. On retesting with the PAC 2021 checker, you’ll notice the previous ‘Path Object Not Tagged’ errors are now resolved, and any new issues can be addressed separately.

The ‘Path Object Not Tagged’ error often crops up when exporting files from InDesign or other similar software. Remember, it’s crucial to ‘artifact’ these paths to make your document as accessible as possible. It’s not just about fixing an error – it’s about making your content reachable and usable for everyone.

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