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.