How to Update Tooltips in a PDF

Welcome to today’s blog post. We’re discussing the importance of adding unique tooltips to PDF form fields with the same name. This boosts the accessibility of a PDF.

Video Guide

Why Unique Tooltips?

When PDF form fields share names, it’s confusing. Screen readers struggle. Users find it hard to know what each field is for. Setting unique tooltips solves this.

Steps to Update Tooltips

  1. Open File: Go to ‘Prepare a Form’. Select your file. Select ‘Create’.
  2. Check Existing Tooltips: Right-click the name fields and select properties. Look under ‘General’. Note existing tooltips.
  3. Make Tooltips Unique: Change ‘Name’ to ‘Applicant 1 Name’ for the first field. Change ‘Email’ to ‘Applicant 1 Email’ for the second field. Do the same for all the others.
  4. Repeat for All Fields: Email, address, etc., should also have unique tooltips.
Creating a unique tooltip for fields sharing the same name by specifying Applicant 1 Name

Adding Form Fields

Once tooltips are set, focus on organizing and correcting all your form fields.

  1. Find Unmarked Annotations: Open the ‘Accessibility Tags’ window. Click ‘Options’, choose ‘Find’ and search for ‘Unmarked Annotations’.
  2. Tag Form Elements: These will appear under a new section. Tag them.
  3. Add Placeholders: Create blank ‘p’ tags for each field. Move name, email, and address into these.
  4. Final Check: Run Jaws or any screen reader to ensure correct naming of all form fields.
Ensuring all form elements are tagged and moved to the correct place in a PDF


After these steps, screen readers will identify each form field clearly. For example, ‘Applicant 1 Name’, ‘Applicant 2 Name’ and so on. This adds clarity for users.

Running a screen reader to ensure correct naming of all form fields

The Value of Unique Tooltips

Creating unique tooltips for each form field boosts user experience. They improve accessibility and help to make PDFs compliant with standards like PDF UA and Section 508. Remember, creating accessible documents is all in the details!

I can be your accessibility expert. For more detailed insights, tutorials, and in-depth discussions on accessibility and related topics, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel: The Accessibility Guy on YouTube. Subscribe for regular updates!

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Creating Accessible PDF Forms: A Comprehensive Guide

In today’s digital age, ensuring that your documents are accessible to all users is a necessity. One particular area where accessibility can significantly improve user experience is in PDF forms. This blog post will walk you through the process of creating accessible PDF forms, which not only helps make your forms user-friendly but also aligns your documents with universal design principles.

Video overview:

Why Creating Accessible PDF Forms Matters

Accessibility in the world of technology ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can access, interact with, and benefit from the digital world. When you create accessible PDF forms, you are ensuring that your documents can be used by a wider range of people, including those with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments.

Steps for Creating Accessible PDF Forms

The process of creating accessible PDF forms involves several steps, each of which contributes to making your document more accessible and user-friendly. Here are some key steps:

Make the PDF accessible before adding the form fields

Before adding form fields, you should ensure that the base document is accessible. This includes adding headings and other important tags to the document.

Rather have someone else do this for you?

Step 1 – Get the form fields in the document

There are two ways to do this. You can use the Prepare Form option in the tools section. Acrobat will automatically detect form fields.

Or, you can manually add the form fields

In the “Prepare Form” tool, select on the type of field you want to add (e.g., “Add a Text Field”).

Prepare form options

Click and drag on the document where you want to place the field

Sample form field on a page

Step 2 – Tag all annotation (form fields)

Additional practice

Missing form annotations

I like to add a placeholder tag to add all of the annotations in one location.

  1. In the “Tags” panel, right-click where you want to add the placeholder.
  2. Click “New Tag” and create something that will stand out. In this example, I use the word PLACE

Now we need to find the actual annotation. Make sure to select that new tag you made

Options: Find Unmarked Annotations

In the tags menu > select the options button > select Find

Options > Find Unmarked Annotations.” Acrobat will identify and highlight any unmarked annotations.

unmarked annotations

Then, select tag element.

Step 3 – Moving the Form Objects to fix reading order

In the “Tags” panel, you can select and drag tags to rearrange them to the correct location. Move each Form-OBJR into the correct location. If you did it correctly, all the “annotations” will be in the placeholder tag you created.

Moving tags

Creating a Form Parent Tag

  1. In the “Tags” panel, right-click on the tag where you want to add the parent tag.
  2. Select “New Tag.” This creates a new tag under the selected tag.
  3. Select Form
  4. Click “OK.” The new parent tag has been created.

This is what the tags panel should look like

P tag with form container

Step 4 – Add Form Descriptions / Tool Tips

  1. Right-click on the form field in the document.
  2. Select “Properties.”
  3. In the “General” tab of the dialog box that opens, fill in the “Tooltip” field. This text will be read by screen readers to describe the form field.
The tool tip

Step 5 – Final step Test Reading Order with Keyboard

Ensure that the tab order is logical and matches the visual order:

  1. Click somewhere on the first page of your document.
  2. Press the “Tab” key repeatedly to navigate through the form fields and ensure the order makes sense.

Thats it!

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