Tagging and Advanced Techniques


Overview: Tags are invisible labels that give semantic meaning to the document. Tags help screen readers and other assistive technologies know what each element is. It could be a heading, an image, a paragraph, anything. They convey this information to users as tags, then users have the ability to easily navigate the document and understand its structure.

Section 4.1: How to Tag Manually

Tags are used in Adobe Acrobat to identify a contents value in a document so it can be read and interpreted by assistive technology. By tagging an object, we are assigning a hierarchical value to an element. For example: An <H1> tag is used for Headings Style 1 or the main heading for a section or chapter. <H2> is used for Heading Style 2, most commonly used for subsections. In a hierarchy, <H2> must be parented under <H1>. Paragraphs or <p>, but be parented under <H2> or in necessary order. Headings must always be higher than paragraphs.

Adding a Tags Root to an Untagged PDF

  1. Open the Tag Navigation Pane. Click the Options drop-down menu.

    Accessibility Tags section in Adobe Acrobat. No tags available highlighted in blue.
    Tags Pane in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Select Create Tags Root. A tag icon should appear.

Section 4.2: Adding Tags

Now we can start creating our tags for the document. To create your new tags,

  1. Right-click the Tags Root.

  2. Select New Tag.

  3. For our Coastal Comforts Example, we will create a Document Tag.

  4. Select the Type from the dropdown menu and choose Document.

  5. Add a title

  6. Click OK. Your tag will appear in the hierarchy.

Section 4.3: Editing Tags and Tag Types

Any tag can be changed to another tag type. Heading 1 can be changed to a Heading 2 or Paragraph, or anything you want. You can achieve this in two ways:

  1. Double click the tag and type in the new tag.

  2. Right click the tag, select Properties. In the Tag Tab select the Type of tag from the drop down menu.

Section 4.4: How to Move Tags

To move a tag, simply drag and drop it within the tag tree.

  • If the little black arrow appears to the left of the tag icon with a long line, the tag will be placed right after that tag, at the same level.

  • If the little black arrow appears to the right of the tag icon with a shorter line, the tag will be placed underneath that tag, nested as a child.

Section 4.5: Deleting Tags

You can delete tags by selecting them, then pressing the delete key on the keyboard. You can also right-click a tag and select Delete Tag.

Section 4.6: Associate Content with Tags

If you create empty tags in the tag tree (right-click the Tags Root, then click New Tag), you must manually associate them with content.

Section 4.7: Associating Content with an Existing Tag

  1. Click the Selection Tool.

  2. Select the content in the document pane.

  3. Right-click the tag.

  4. Select Create Tag from Selection.

  5. Now a container with the content will be created inside that tag.

Section 4.8: How to Create a Tag and Add Content to a Tag at the Same Time

In general, this is the recommended way to add a tag, because you're completing two steps in one and saving yourself extra work. However, in some cases you'll find it might be quicker to create a few empty tags and quickly drag and drop existing content in the tag tree into them. So it's useful to know both methods.

  1. Click the Selection tool.

  2. Select the content.

  3. Click the Options menu.

  4. Select Create Tag from Selection.

  5. Select the Type of tag from the drop-down menu and click OK.

Section 4.9: Finding Tagged Content from the Document Pane

To find a particular tag from a selection in the Document Pane:

  1. Click the Selection Tool.

  2. Highlight/select the item with your cursor.

  3. Open the Options Menu in the Tags Pane.

  4. Select Find Tag from Selection.

  5. The tag will be highlighted/selected in the tag tree.

Section 4.10: Using the Reading Order Tool

To open the Reading Order Tool:

  1. Go to Tools then Accessibility.

  2. From the drop-down, select Add Shortcut.

  3. You'll then see it appear as a purple icon in the right-side Tools Pane.

  4. If you've previously created this Accessibility shortcut, you can just access it directly from the Tools Pane.

  5. Select Reading Order.

This tool doesn’t offer all possible tag types, so if you need one that isn’t listed, you’ll have to create that tag in the Tags navigation pane.

Section 4.11: Container Tags

Container elements are the highest level of element and provide hierarchical grouping for other block-level elements. However, these tags do not convey any semantic meaning to the document. They are simply used to organize the tag tree structure and are more for the benefit of the document author than the end user. They will not be picked up or announced by screen readers, but they might be very helpful to find your way around in a long document.

These tags are:

  • <Document> — the Document element. Used as the root element of a document's tag tree.

  • <Part> — the Part element. Used to structure a large division of a document, like a chapter or sometimes a page. May group smaller units of content together, such as division elements, article elements, or section elements (see below).

  • <Div> — the Division element. A generic block-level element or group of block-level elements.

  • <Art> — the Article element. A self-contained body of text considered being a single narrative within a larger group of content.

  • <Sect> — the Section element. A general container element type, which is usually a component of a part element or an article element.

All of these tags are container tags, whose only real purpose is to group together a set of tags.

For example, a book could be organized using <Part> tags for each chapter, <Sect> tags for each section of that chapter, and <Part> tags again for every page in that chapter.

Section 4.12: Using the Tags Pane

You can also turn items that have already been tagged into Artifacts. This is often necessary when you’re working with an automatically tagged document during manual touch-up.

  1. Open the Tags Pane.

  2. Right-click the content that needs to be labeled as an Artifact (not the tag itself, but the content within it, which is next to the container icon that looks like a little box).

  3. Select Change Tag to Artifact.

Section 4.13: Finding Artifacts

To find an Artifact that has been removed from the tag tree:

  1. Click the Options menu in the Tags Pane.

  2. Click Find.

  3. Artifacts will already be selected as the first option in the drop-down menu.

  4. Select Search Page or Search Document.

  5. Click the Find button.