Accessible PDF

What is a tagged PDF?

what is a tagged PDF?

A tagged PDF file contains metadata describing the structure of the documents and the order of the various document elements. A tagged PDF is a PDF that includes accessible markups the backend provides, but it is a logical structure that manages the reading order and the presentation of document content. Even small errors in the logical structure can make a tagged PDF incomprehensible to helpful technology users.  

What is a tag?  

A PDF tag is the key to accessing the contents of PDF documents with supporting technologies such as screen readers. A PDF tag arranges the PDF content in a hierarchical architecture or tag tree.  

A tag is an invisible label that provides important information about the contents of a PDF document. A tagged PDF is a PDF file that contains additional metadata (information about the contents of the elements in the document). The most efficient way to mark the content is to format the document so that it is accessible to the author or the tool itself.  

Why should the PDF be tagged? 

Adding a PDF tag does not change the visual appearance of the document, but it does provide an invisible layer that formats the document to work with screen readers. This makes it easier to extract text and graphics from a PDF file and helps screen readers display the contents of the files in the correct order.  

The PDF tags can also be used to transfer content to devices with smaller screens such as smartphones and tablets.  

How to create a tagged PDF? 

Tag conversion for PDF requires an authoring application that supports tagged PDFs. Tag conversion allows the authoring tool to draw paragraphs, styles, and other structure information from the source document to create a logical structure or tree. If you do not have access to an authoring application to create a tagged PDF, you can mark a PDF with Acrobat at any time.  

If the software you are using is not able to create a tagged PDF, you can still add a tag. You can set the field text of a PDF tag to any element of the contents of the PDF, and the tag generates a list of secondary or nested PDF tags.  

It is advised to use both automated as well as manual remediation for ensuring 100% tagged PDF 

To fix rule checks, select an image from the PDF Accessibility Checker or select Fix Options from the menu. Select the page where you want to edit the document in the language and click Recognize text.  

The best way to check the accessibility of a document is to use a tool that your readers can use. If you do not have access to such a tool, Adobe offers Acrobat DC an automated way to check accessibility of PDF files. With the full check function, Acrobat checks a PDF for many features that are accessible to all PDFs.  

Well-designed tags are indispensable for accessible PDFs on their own, but they are not enough. Using tags as a feature is not recommended for overlays or watermarked files.  

At 247 accessible documents the PDF accessibility testing team not only test with the PDF Accessibility Checker in Adobe Professional but also ensure that a manual quality check is thoroughly implemented on the tags and the content. 

Write to to know how we can support you with creating a tagged PDF.  

By Ramya Venkitesh

Head - Accessibility New Initiatives, Actively involved in formulating new ideas to create Innovative Accessible Solutions across all Disabilities.