2 Easy Methods to Create a Tagged PDF for Accessibility

Summary :

Learn about the easy methods to create tagged PDFs on Windows and Mac to ensure that your documents are accessible to people with disabilities.

Table of Contents

How to Create a Tagged PDF

How to Create a Tagged PDF

Creating tagged PDFs, as with highlighting, is essential for ensuring that your documents are accessible to people with disabilities, such as those who are visually impaired or have cognitive impairments.

Tagged PDFs allow assistive technologies like screen readers to correctly interpret the content and present it in a meaningful way, making it easier for users to access and understand the information.

On this page, you’ll learn 2 easy methods to create tagged PDF. Step-by-step guide are provided.

How to Tag a PDF in Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a powerful PDF editor that allows you to do many things like translate PDFs or add signatures. With Adobe Acrobat, you can easily generate, modify, and validate tags in your PDF documents, making the content more accessible to users relying on assistive technologies like screen readers.

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Adobe Acrobat offers both automatic and manual tagging options, allowing you to quickly add tags to your document or fine-tune the tagging process for more complex layouts.

Now follow the steps to create tagged PDFs in Adobe. To get started, get Adobe Acrobat from the official website.

Stpe 1. Launch Adobe Acrobat and open the PDF document you want to tag. Go to the “View” menu, select “Show/Hide,” choose “Navigation Panes,” and click on “Tags” to enable the Tags panel.

Show Tags

Show Tags

Step 2. Click on the “Accessibility” tool in the right-hand pane. If you don’t see it, go to “Tools” in the top menu, search for “Accessibility,” and add it to your toolbar. In the Accessibility tool, click on “Add Tags to Document” to automatically tag the PDF.

Auto-tag the Document

Auto-tag the Document

Step 3. To add, edit, or delete tags, right-click on a tag in the Tags panel and choose from the available options, such as “New Tag,” “Edit Tag,” or “Delete Tag.”

Manually Edit Tags

Manually Edit Tags

Step 4. In the Accessibility tool, click on “Reading Order.” A new panel will open, allowing you to adjust the reading order of the content by selecting and dragging elements into the desired sequence.

Adjust Reading Order

Adjust Reading Order

Step 5. For images and other non-text elements, add alternative text (alt text) to improve accessibility. Right-click on the <Figure> tag in the Tags panel, select “Properties,” and enter a description in the “Alternate Text” field.

Add Alt Description

Add Alt Description

Step 6. In the Accessibility tool, click on “Full Check” to run a comprehensive accessibility check. Review and resolve any issues or warnings reported.

Validate the Tagging

Validate the Tagging

Step 7. Go to “File” > “Save As” and save your tagged PDF with a new name to preserve the original file.

How to Create Tagged PDF in InDesign

Adobe InDesign in a design tool that also works with PDF, such as making interactive PDFs. Creating tagged PDFs in Adobe InDesign is a streamlined process that involves using the software’s built-in tools to structure the document correctly and map styles to appropriate PDF tags.

InDesign allows you to define and apply paragraph and character styles, which can be mapped to standard PDF tags, such as headings, paragraphs, lists, and more.

Follow the steps to create tagged PDFs in InDesign, get Adobe InDesign if you haven’t already.

Step 1. Open your InDesign file and ensure that your document is well-structured with appropriate use of styles, such as paragraph and character styles, for consistent formatting.

Step 2. Click Paragraph Styles on the right pane, where you can check and edit the existing tags in the PDF.

Click Paragraph Style

Click Paragraph Style

Step 3. From InDesign Paragraph Style Options, go to Export Tagging and set the tagging types for PDF.

Paragraph Style Options

Paragraph Style Options

Step 4. Get back to the Pragraph Styles menu, right-click on the tag you intend to export and click Edit All Export Tags.

Edit All Export Tags

Edit All Export Tags

Step 5. In Edit All Export Tags options, set the Show type as PDF, and check the tags you need to export, and click OK.

Edit All Export Tags

All Export Tags

What is a Tagged PDF?

A tagged PDF is a type of PDF file that contains additional metadata in the form of tags, which provide a logical structure and hierarchy to the content.

These tags make it easier for screen readers and other assistive technologies to interpret and navigate the document, improving accessibility for users with disabilities.


How do I create a tagged PDF?

To create a tagged PDF, you can use a variety of software programs, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Word, or InDesign. When creating or saving your document, ensure that you enable the appropriate settings to generate a tagged PDF.

For example, in Microsoft Word, you can select “Options” in the “Save As” dialog box and check “Document structure tags for accessibility.”

What are some common tags used in tagged PDFs?

Some common tags used in tagged PDFs include:

  • <H1>, <H2>, <H3>, etc. for headings
  • <P> for paragraphs
  • <Table> for tables
  • <TR> for table rows
  • <TD> for table cells
  • <L> for lists
  • <LI> for list items
  • <Figure> for images and graphics

How do I check if a PDF is tagged?

To check if a PDF is tagged, open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader or a similar program. Look for a “Tags” panel or option, usually found in the navigation pane.

If the PDF is tagged, you will see a tree-like structure representing the document’s logical hierarchy. If the panel is empty or the option is missing, the PDF is likely not tagged.

Can I add tags to an existing PDF?

Yes, you can add tags to an existing PDF using software like Adobe Acrobat Pro. The “Autotag Document” feature can automatically add tags to the document, or you can manually add and edit tags using the “Tags” panel.

Keep in mind that manual tagging may be necessary for complex documents or when the automatic tagging does not provide satisfactory results.

Are there any limitations to tagged PDFs?

While tagged PDFs significantly improve accessibility, they may still have some limitations. For instance, some complex layouts or interactive elements may not be fully accessible even with proper tagging.

Additionally, not all PDF readers or assistive technologies may support tagged PDFs, which can lead to varying user experiences. It’s essential to test your tagged PDFs with multiple assistive technologies to ensure the best possible accessibility.

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