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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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.

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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

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:

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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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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.

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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Dealing with Overwritten Alternate Text Issue during Word to PDF Conversion

Video Overview

The patch for this error is at the bottom of the post. You need to download this update from Adobe:

Understanding the Overwritten Alternate Text Issue in PDF Conversion

Hello there, tech enthusiasts! Today, we are taking a deep dive into a recent and pressing issue regarding PDF conversion that’s been creating quite a buzz. We’re talking about overwritten alternate text that users are experiencing when converting Microsoft Word documents to Adobe PDF. This perplexing problem has cropped up recently, possibly due to an update in Adobe Acrobat.

For those of you who regularly use images in your Word documents and assign them alternative texts (alt text), you might have noticed something odd happening. During the conversion process to PDF, the assigned alternate texts are mysteriously overwritten. When testing this, even when the alt text field is left blank for an image in a Word document, some other alt text seems to be auto-generated during conversion.

Investigating the Overwritten Alternate Text in PDF

The issue doesn’t stop there. Upon placing an alternate text ‘test’ on a second image and leaving the first one blank, both images exhibited the same peculiar behavior after conversion. By navigating to the tags panel in the converted PDF and right-clicking on the figure tag, you can view the properties of each image. This process reveals that some alt text is indeed being forced into these images during conversion.

The same test applies for the second image. Unfortunately, the alt text ‘test’ inputted is overwritten during the conversion process as well. This peculiar issue isn’t limited to a specific set of images, as it indiscriminately affects all images during conversion.

While the exact cause remains a mystery, the first step to preventing this issue is to regularly check the alt text on your images during conversion. Consider this a public service announcement to remain vigilant and ensure your image descriptions are preserved in the transition from Word to PDF.

Adobe Acrobat Update: A Potential Solution

In the hunt for a solution, a deep dive into the Adobe support community led to an intriguing find: an optional update for Adobe Acrobat that could potentially address this issue. But as with any bug fix, the efficacy of the solution isn’t guaranteed for all users. The optional update didn’t solve the problem in every case, but it could potentially help others experiencing similar problems. Despite the setbacks, continued efforts to troubleshoot this issue are essential.


Remember, tech problems are only temporary, and there’s always a solution around the corner. Until then, double-checking the alternate text in your images remains your best course of action. Thanks for joining us today, and remember, always stay curious and resilient in the face of technology’s puzzles.

Create Accessible PDF Forms with Abbyy FineReader PDF 16 and Adobe Acrobat


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on creating accessible PDF forms using Abbyy FineReader PDF 16 and Adobe Acrobat. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of adding form fields, ensuring proper tagging, and making your PDFs accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.1 standards. By following these steps, you’ll provide an inclusive user experience for all.

Adding Form Fields with Abbyy FineReader PDF 16

Abbyy FineReader PDF 16 allows you to add various form fields to your PDFs, such as text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, drop-down lists, list boxes, and signatures. To begin, select the Form Editor on the right side of the screen, which will bring up a drop-down menu where you can choose the appropriate form field.

For example, when adding a text field, drag and drop it to the desired location within the document. Right-click the text field to access its properties and adjust settings like field name, tooltip, maximum number of symbols, and appearance. You can also set the format for text or date and choose between single-line or multi-line input.

Making Your PDF Forms Accessible with Adobe Acrobat

After creating your PDF form using Abbyy FineReader PDF 16, it’s crucial to ensure its accessibility. Open your document in Adobe Acrobat and use the built-in accessibility tools to make necessary adjustments. Here are the key steps to making your PDF forms accessible:

  1. Set the proper reading language and ensure all images have alternative text (alt text).
  2. Use the Tags panel to adjust the document structure, such as headers and paragraphs.
  3. Ensure proper form field tagging, with appropriate nesting and parent tag types.
  4. Run the Accessibility Checker to identify and fix any issues.
  5. Use the PAC 2021 checker to ensure WCAG 2.1 compliance.

By following these steps, your PDF forms will be accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.1 standards.

Best Practices for Creating Accessible PDF Forms with Abbyy FineReader PDF 16 and Adobe Acrobat

To create accessible PDF forms that cater to all users, consider these best practices:

  1. Use clear and descriptive field names and tooltips to help users understand the purpose of each field.
  2. Set the proper tab order for form fields to enable easy navigation using the Tab key.
  3. Choose accessible fonts and colors, sticking to high-contrast color combinations and avoiding small font sizes.
  4. Test and validate your accessible PDF form using various accessibility checkers and real users.

By incorporating these best practices, you’ll provide an inclusive and compliant user experience for all.


Abbyy FineReader PDF 16 and Adobe Acrobat make it simple to create accessible PDF forms that comply with WCAG 2.1 standards. By following the steps outlined in this guide and implementing the best practices, you can ensure an inclusive user experience that caters to everyone.