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  • 1. HOW TO CREATE ACCESSIBLE DOCUMENTS IN ADOBE ACROBAT PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES FOR CREATING ACCESSIBLE DOCUMENTS USING ADOBE ACROBAT PROFESSIONAL 7 FOR MICROSOFT WINDOWS XP AND APPLE OS X TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction to Accessibility in Adobe Acrobat Professional.....................................................................2 Adobe Acrobat Professional and Microsoft Word .................................................................................2 Acrobat Accessibility Checker: Initial Test.........................................................................................3 Accessibility Tools in Acrobat........................................................................................................3 Document Reading Order............................................................................................................3 Tag Classifications.....................................................................................................................4 Heading Tags................................................................................................................4 Text Tag......................................................................................................................4 Figure and Figure/Caption Tags..........................................................................................4 Background Tag............................................................................................................5 Table and Cell Tags.........................................................................................................5 Formula Tag.................................................................................................................5 Form Field Tag..............................................................................................................6 Modifying the Reading Order of the Document...................................................................................6 Tab Order...............................................................................................................................6 Document Bookmarks................................................................................................................6 Document Language..................................................................................................................7 Acrobat Accessibility Checker: Final Test..........................................................................................7 How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 1 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)
  • 2. These guidelines are provided by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development as part of their accessibility resources for Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning is a process of making course concepts accessible and skills attainable regardless of learning style, physical, or sensory abilities. Providing accessible instructional materials is for the benefit of everyone as accessibility removes the barriers individuals may face from obtaining the information. For additional information on Universal Design for Learning, please visit the Universal Design for Learning web site online at http://ctfd.sfsu.edu/udl. For additional accessibility resources, please visit the Center for Teaching and Faculty web site online at http://ctfd.sfsu.edu/accessibility-resources.htm. INTRODUCTION TO ACCESSIBILITY IN ADOBE ACROBAT PROFESSIONAL Adobe Acrobat Professional can be used to convert certain document formats into PDF file format. Generally speaking, a file created in another program and imported to Acrobat will inherit most specialized formatting from the source document. For instance, if accessibility for a particular document was addressed in Microsoft Word and then converted to PDF, the PDF file would then retain the visible formatting and some basic structure from the work done in Word. Applications vary on support for accessibility formatting, and therefore it is always wise to check an imported document within Acrobat to ensure that the document is fully accessible. PDFs are widely used due to their ability to retain visible formatting in a rather small file size. Authors of PDF files can ensure that the layout of their documents stays intact while end-users (those viewing the final PDF) can easily access the content through the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Despite these benefits, it may not be in your best interest to use a PDF. For example, for simple Word documents with no advanced formatting, it is more beneficial to a larger number of people to keep a file as plain text. Therefore, ask yourself, “Does my document NEED to be a PDF?” This guide is specifically aimed at creating accessibility in a document imported from Word though it can be applied to any form of document in PDF file format. ADOBE ACROBAT PROFESSIONAL AND MICROSOFT WORD At the bare minimum, a Word document converted from the native DOC file format will be accessible through screen-reading software. However, the results are far from perfect. The majority of the problems with Acrobat involve incorrectly grouped paragraphs and headings which may make the document harder to understand and navigate. Therefore, it is necessary to correct the mistakes Acrobat makes so that the document is fully accessible. Furthermore, it is important to note that accessibility compliance for Word documents converted to PDF file format varies with the version of Word used to create the document. Despite Acrobat’s shortcomings in translating accessible formats, it is still highly advisable to do the bulk of your accessibility work within Word. How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 2 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)
  • 3. For additional guidelines on creating accessible documents in Microsoft Word, please see the Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Word guide on the Accessibility Resources on the Center for web site online at http://ctfd.sfsu.edu/accessibility-resources.htm. ACROBAT ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER: INITIAL TEST Once a document has been imported into Acrobat, it can be checked for accessibility. The Accessibility Checker within Acrobat will highlight major problem areas and describe how to correct these mistakes and make the document fully accessible. To run the Accessibility Checker, choose Advanced Accessibility Full Check… from the main top menu. Click on the Start Checking button. A dialog box will display the results along with the more detailed Accessibility Report in the right hand sidebar once you click on the OK button. Unfortunately, the Accessibility Checker is far from perfect and should only be used as an overview to give you a good idea of how much work will be necessary to make the document fully accessible. With newly imported documents, Acrobat will commonly report that there are no problems. This is due to the fact that the document is accessible on the basic level but is not fully accessible. For example, the screenshot to the right is a screen shot of the Accessibility Report for a document. Acrobat is incorrectly reporting that the “checker found no problems in this document.” However, if you look closely at the screen shot, you will notice that Acrobat has made a few mistakes. To begin with, we see that Acrobat has tagged all of the text into two elements. In the original document, the title of the document was formatted as Heading 1 and the subsection titles were formatted as Heading 2. Acrobat has also incorrectly tagged the image as a Table and has dropped the alternate text that was originally provided. Note that the above example was based on a document created in Word 2003. Different formatting errors may occur in other versions of Word. Though the Accessibility Checker has returned an incorrect report, it is still a good idea to run the Accessibility Checker to see how Acrobat is handling your documents until you become more comfortable with Acrobat. ACCESSIBILITY TOOLS IN ACROBAT Accessibility in Acrobat is achieved using specialized accessibility tools within the application to build the document reading order (the order in which the document will be “read” by screen-reading software). Building the reading order is accomplished by tagging individual items using the TouchUp Reading Order tools and arranging the tagged items in the Order Panel. For quick access to the accessibility tools, you can choose to configure Acrobat so that the toolbars are always viewable. From the main top menu, choose Tools Advanced Editing Show TouchUp Toolbar and Tools Advanced Editing Show Advanced Editing Toolbar. The toolbars may be moved to the main toolbar area. DOCUMENT READING ORDER For the reading order to be created in Acrobat, all items in the document must be properly tagged. To access the How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 3 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)
  • 4. reading order of the document, open the TouchUp Reading Tool by selecting Advanced Accessibility TouchUp Reading Order from the main top menu or by clicking on the middle icon in the Touchup Toolbar. A dialog box will appear showing various buttons that refer to specific tag classifications that can be applied to individual parts of the document. To tag an item, it must be selected and then tagged using one of the tag classifications. Using the TouchUp Reading Order Tool, items can be selected by drawing a rectangle around the content which will place blue rectangles around the selected content. To select additional items, you can press the SHIFT key on your keyboard while dragging a rectangle around the items. This will automatically add items to your current selection. To remove items from the selection, you can press the CTRL key on your keyboard while dragging a rectangle around the items. This will automatically remove items from the current selection. To completely remove a tag from an item, select the item and choose Background to clear the tag. To tag selected items, click on one of the tag classifications in the dialog box. A number in the left-hand side of the rectangle will appear in the upper left indicating the reading order of the item. TAG CLASSIFICATIONS HEADING TAGS Headings are used to separate the content of the document into individual sections. Documents will typically have a number of different headings depending on how much material is presented within the document. Typically, documents will only have one Heading 1 instance which is usually reserved for the title of the document and the following section titles would be Heading 2, Heading 3, and so forth. Using this document as an example, Heading 1 would be reserved for the title of this document: How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional. Sections within this document (such as Introduction to Accessibility in Adobe Acrobat Professional, Adobe Acrobat Professional and Microsoft Word, etc.) would be considered Heading 2. Further subsections under Heading 2 would be considered Heading 3. TEXT TAG Essentially, text tags are reserved for any portion of text within a document that is not considered to be a heading. Text tags are used for grouping paragraphs together. Acrobat will usually group text that is close together as one element. For example, if you have two paragraphs that follow in sequential order, Acrobat will group the two together even if you attempt to tag each one as separate text elements. Not every paragraph needs to be individually tagged as text, so it is acceptable to have two paragraphs tagged as the same element as long as they are related to the heading that precedes them. FIGURE AND FIGURE/CAPTION TAGS Images in Acrobat are tagged as figures and receive alternate text to either title or describe what the image depicts. In order for the information to still be vital to someone who cannot see the image, it is necessary to explain the image as best as possible. Once an image has been tagged as a figure, right click (or control click if you are using a Mac) on the element number and choose Edit Alternate Text. In your alternate text, be sure to How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 4 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)
  • 5. define the medium (photograph, painting, etc.) and describe the meaning the image is supposed to convey in one or two sentences. To determine whether to title an image or provide a description, think about the image you are using. TITLE - Use a title for the alternate text when the image is plain or not depicting a specific action. For example, if you were using the picture to the right of George Washington, you could type in ‘Painting of George Washington.’ in the alternative text area. If you knew more information about the image you are using (such as the artist or photographer or the year in which the picture came from) you could include it as alternate text. DESCRIPTION - For a more detailed picture, consider using a description of the picture. For example, if you were using the image of George Washington on the right, you could type in ‘Painting of George Washington with sword drawn, mounted on a horse.” The goal with describing a image is to capture the information accurately and to convey the purpose of the image in your document. The more descriptive your alternate text is, the better. BACKGROUND TAG Certain documents may contain images that are unnecessary for the comprehension of the document. For instance, a document may have a design, pattern, or purely aesthetic component that merely acts to make the document look decorative. Since this is not important in understanding the content of the document, it is unnecessary for screen-reading software to access this information. To make sure that screen-reading software will skip over certain components, they must be tagged as background elements. The Background tag can also be used to skip over extraneous information in a document. For example, a document may have a common header and footer. You may decide that the information is unnecessary passed the first page. Therefore, it is advisable to tag any following headers or footers as Background elements. Finally, the Background tag can also be used to correct grouping errors created in Acrobat. If Acrobat has incorrectly grouped a number of items together that need to be separated, you may want to select all the elements, tag them as Background to clear the formatting on items. You can then start over and tag the items correctly. TABLE AND CELL TAGS Some data is better organized in a table format with rows and columns. To handle tables in Acrobat, you will need to tag the appropriate element as a table so that the tab order will match up with the rows and columns of the table. The table tag allows the data to stay as it was originally formatted and Acrobat will read the data by moving between the cells of the table in the intended manner. Cells can be added to the table using the cell tag. FORMULA TAG If your document contains formulas, tag them with the formula tag. You may also want to consider tagging the formula item as a figure and providing alternate text, since screen-reading software differs in the way formulas are processed. How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 5 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)
  • 6. FORM FIELD TAG Acrobat allows you to tag form items (items requiring user input for data gathering) as forms, though it is recommended that you address their accessibility in Adobe Designer since you will have more control over the order in which form items appear. MODIFYING THE READING ORDER OF THE DOCUMENT As you are tagging individual items in your document, Acrobat will begin creating the actual reading order. This reading order may or may not be in the correct order and therefore will need to be updated. When determining the reading order of a document, keep in mind how you would naturally read the document. Think about the reading order as if you were going to read aloud the text to somebody in a logical order instead of jumping around from section to section. On the TouchUp Reading Order box, click on Show Order Panel button to bring up the document order. The Order Panel displays all of the pages as well as the individual tagged elements associated with each page. Naturally, the numerical value of each element within the document corresponds with the numerical value in the Order Panel. As new elements are tagged or existing elements are retagged, the order will change. Tagged items can be moved either up or down by clicking and dragging. To move an element from its original location, click on the small three box icon to the left of the number and drag the mouse either up or down. As you move the mouse, a small black arrow with dotted lines protruding to the right will appear under the element in which you are moving the current element to. If you see the  symbol, the element cannot align with the document structure tree (the grey line). Move the mouse cursor closer to the document structure in order for it to be properly placed. TAB ORDER Once you have your reading order set, the next step is to change the tab order of the document. Tab order refers to the order in which users can ‘tab through’ (use the tab key to navigate) the document. To correct the tab order, click on the Pages tab on the left hand-side of Acrobat. If the Navigation Pane is not present, select View Navigation Tabs Pages from the main top menu. The pages in the document will appear with the current page highlighted in red. All of the pages associated with the document will appear here. Highlight all the pages by holding down the SHIFT key while clicking on each individual page. From the Options menu, choose Page Properties and then select the Use Document Structure option. Click on Close. This will allow Acrobat to use the reading order for tabbed navigation. DOCUMENT BOOKMARKS Bookmarks in a document make it easier to navigate throughout the document and are beneficial outside the realm of accessibility. If a document imported from Word had a proper table of contents added, Acrobat will interpret the table of contents as Bookmarks. How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 6 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)
  • 7. To add bookmarks to a document, begin by clicking on the Bookmarks tab on the left hand side of Acrobat. This will display all of the bookmarks associated for the document you are working on. If bookmarks already exist, test them out to see if they go to the correct location by clicking on the various bookmark titles. If the bookmarks do not go to the correct location, you may decide to delete the bookmarks and start over. You can also change the order of the bookmarks by clicking and dragging the bookmark titles into a new order. To create a new bookmark, click on the Select Text tool in the top tool bar area. Click and drag to highlight the area where you want the bookmark to point to. This will typically be the heading of the section or the first few lines of text. With the appropriate item selected, click on the Options button in the bookmarks tab and choose New Bookmark. The new bookmark will inherit the selected text. You can change the title to something more general if you wish. If a particular article of a document spreads over two pages, you may want to consider making multiple bookmarks to cover each section. That way, users can easily jump between the various sections of an individual article. To do this, create separate bookmarks for each section and name them something like Part 1 and Part 2. Individual bookmarks can be moved up and down in the Bookmarks pane and even nested underneath other bookmarks. In the example to the right, Part 1 and Part 2 have been nested underneath the bookmark for title of the article. DOCUMENT LANGUAGE In order for Acrobat to properly identify the contents of the document, the document needs to be set to the correct language. To do this, choose File Document Settings from the main top menu. Click on the Advanced tab and choose the desired language under Reading Options. ACROBAT ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER: FINAL TEST Once the appropriate language has been selected, and your document has been formatted with the proper tags, reading order and structure, and bookmarks, it is time to run the Accessibility Checker one last time. Choose Advanced Accessibility Full Check… from the main top menu and click on the Start Checking button. The goal, obviously, is for the Accessibility Report to return no errors, thereby declaring that the document meets basic accessibility guidelines. However, as was evident during the initial run of the Accessibility Checker, Acrobat may still be reporting incorrect information. Most commonly, the Accessibility Checker may catch several small errors that will not affect the overall accessibility of the document. Depending on the accessibility report, determine whether or not the error can be corrected. For example, the Accessibility Checker may still report that certain elements are not contained within the structure tree. As long as all of the document elements are properly tagged, you may choose to ignore the final report. How to Create Accessible Documents in Adobe Acrobat Professional 7 | P a g e Developed by Bob Moyce (Center for Teaching and Faculty Development)