Join Chad Chelius for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Tags pane, part of Acrobat DC: Creating Accessible PDFs (2015).
- The Tags pane if you recall, determines the order the content will be read, using screen reading software which is very important. But it also identifies elements semantically which is also important. By tagging content based on its purpose, you're providing logic and context to the content itself. For example, by tagging items as a heading or a list or a caption, you're giving meaning to the content. Remember, in the video earlier in this course, where I talk about the experience using screen reading software.
We saw that without proper context, it's the equivalent of reading a newspaper or magazine that is set in all 12 point text. There's no way to determine what's a heading or what's a caption. Let's take a look at how the Tags panel give us this control when remediating a PDF file. Now, I'm actually going to open up the Order pane real quickly, just so you can see that the reflow order is in fact correct. But if we switch over to the Tags pane, we can see here that the order might not be what we're expecting.
So let's take a look at what this is. What I want to make sure you do is in the Options button at the top, you wanna make sure that Highlight Content is chosen. And the reason I do that is because as I click on a particular tag, it highlights the object that is tagged with this tag. So you can see the first thing I click on is the Heading Level 1 element, and that's the Employee Manual. And then I click on the <Figure> and that's the Globe Bank International. I probably want the Globe Bank International to be read first.
So what I do is in the Tags panel, I can just click on the <Figure> tag and drag it, to re-order it in the order I want it to appear. And so now, when I click on <Figure>, that's the first thing that's read. I can actually use the up or down arrow keys on my keyboard to just kinda tap the down arrow key to see what's being read next. So then we have Employee Manual, then you can see that this text is read all the way down at the bottom. So we're gonna drag that and re-order it so that now it goes <Figure>, <Heading1>, the revised text, and then the authored and approved by text.
The next thing that is being read is this object here. And this has a double problem, if you will, because it's tagged incorrectly but it's also being read in the wrong order. So, the first thing I'm gonna do is change the order. I'll drag this Paragraph tag below the Heading Level 1, so now we have the Heading Level 1, and then this is being read, which is correct. But this shouldn't be a Paragraph tag, so if I right click on that tag and choose Properties, this will bring up the Object Properties dialog box where I can change the Type of tag that's being applied.
So if I click on the drop down menu, I'm gonna scroll to where it says Heading Level 2, I'll choose that option and now you can see it's being tagged using a Heading Level 2. The nice thing about this dialog box is you can actually continue working without closing out of that dialog box. You notice I'm clicking on these objects while the dialog box is open. So, this we can change to a Heading Level 2, and then we can go ahead and close this. Now, as I continue moving down, yeah, things seem to be properly tagged.
But here again, we have an object that's tagged using the wrong element. So, in addition to going to the Properties, I wanna show you another way we can do this, if you just click on this, and then you click on it a second time to be able to rename it, we can just type in the name of the tag we wanna apply. So, as a little bit of a shortcut, we can type the open angle bracket if you will, and then I can type H2, you actually don't even have to close the angle bracket because when I hit Return, it'll add it for me.
So now, it's properly tagged the way that it's supposed to. In addition, as I keep on going down, I'm gonna get down to this footer. And I'm realizing now, that this actually should not be tagged, I wanna make that an artifact. So, I'm gonna open this tag by clicking on the Plus sign, and I'm gonna click on the content right here, and if I right-click, I can choose Change Tag to Artifact. When you get the Create Artifact dialog, we usually wanna choose the Page Artifact, because as a general rule, it produces the best results.
So when I go ahead and click OK, you're gonna notice that tag is now empty. Now, that's not to say that I could just click on that content and delete it, it doesn't work that way because then I'm gonna get an error that I have untagged content. When I make it an artifact, it appropriately tags it as an artifact, but then it leaves this container empty. So as long as this container is empty, you can see this one actually has content in it, but this one does not. When it's empty, then it's okay to right-click on it and literally delete the tag.
Now, another thing I wanna point out, is that as you're working in your document, it's hard to figure out where this is located within the Tags panel, aside from clicking on a bunch of things to figure out where it is. So that's why I like to use a really great feature. Come up here and use the Selection Tool right here, and I can select some of this text, and then in the Option button up here at the top of the Tags panel, I can choose Find Tag from Selection. And what that will do is highlight the tag that this selection is made from.
So it's a really easy way to keep your bearings in your document, and locate specific items as you're working on them. As you can see, the Tags pane provides a lot of control, structure and organization to the content of a PDF file. Understanding how to take advantage of the features of the Tags pane is key to proper PDF remediation. To see the final tag document, there's a final version of this file inside of your Exercise Files folder, so you can see the process that I've gone through to finish re-organizing and structuring the tags in this document.
- Understanding the experience of users with visual impairments
- How to know if a PDF is accessible
- Setting up Acrobat DC
- Tagging content, including lists and tables
- Adding metadata, bookmarks, and alt text
- Generating a PDF with Microsoft Word
- Creating accessible PDFs from PowerPoint, Excel, and InDesign
- Controlling tab and reading order
- Adding cross-references and tables of contents