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Re: Advanced PDF Form questions


From: phil@d4k.ca
Date: Feb 27, 2017 12:07PM

I don't see a reply to this message yet, Joseph, so I thought I'd send a
couple quick thoughts.

> 1) If I am making a PDF Form from a Word document: I write the document and correctly format it in Word, then Save as PDF or Print to PDF or use the Create Form From File option in Acrobat (all ways have the same issue). I Add my form fields or use the recognize Form Fields Tool and retag using AutoTag Document. The New Tags are totally different from the correct tags that the Original Word to Adobe would have (different including heading levels, added bunch of <stylespan> etc.). So I have to retag the entire document correctly, or manually add Form tags? That makes no sense.

When I am generating a PDF form from a correctly formatted Word
document, I normally don't use the AutoTag function. Start with a clean,
regular PDF that is correctly tagged and that passes all Adobe's
built-in accessibility checks. Then use the recognize Form Fields tool.
Then instead of retagging the whole thing, all you should need to do is
add the tags to the newly added form elements, as described in the
WebAIM advice on PDF Forms here:

When saving to PDF from Word, do not use the Print to PDF function. Use
either the Save as PDF function or the Export to PDF function These are
named and located slightly differently depending on which versions of
Word and Acrobat you are using, but one of them uses Microsoft Word's
rendering engine while the other uses Acrobat's. They will produce
different PDF results. And don't forget that you can select options in
each case to refine exactly how you want your selected rendering engine
to produce your PDF (with bookmarks? embed fonts? keep Word style names
or use built-in tag names?).

> 2) How come the "AutoTag form Fields Tool" does not actually Tag the Fields? It just sets up the tags to be added when you AutoTag document. If the AutoTag Form Fields Tool actually tagged the Fields, the user would not have to retag a properly tagged document from Word.

Good question! There are several areas where Acrobat Pro seems to be
still a work in progress, including correctly helping you to add and
manage form fields, links, and lists. Compared to Acrobat 10 and 11,
Acrobat DC is at least a sign that Adobe is working on the software and
trying to make it better with each iteration.

> 3) When using Adobe PDF maker from Word, the List in PDF does not have <Lbl> tag. How big an issue is this?

There is room for a bit of debate on this, but I would say that if you
produce a document that is otherwise PDF/UA-compliant and that passes
all the built-in Adobe accessibility checks cleanly, and the only issue
is that your <Lbl> text elements are integrated into their <LBody> tags,
then I personally would say it is not a big issue. Incorrect, yes, but
big issue? No.

If you want to fix this manually in a large document, it can take a very
long time. If you have other software available, you can make that final
remediation step quicker. AxesPDF allows you to select multiple tags at
once and then mass edit them at once (which can help you change a bunch
of P tags to Lbl tags if you have resorted to tagging individual bullets
or numbers as "text" using Acrobat). CommonLook's Global Access has a
tool that will bulk convert groups of text to lists, though I've not yet
tested this to see how robust it is. Both of these pieces of additional
software will set you back something approaching USD $1000 or more, so
you may end up making choices based on relative cost to remediate.

> 4) The Prepare Form tool option really is two things: The first time you use it with a document it acts as "Create fillable form from file", and after that the Prepare Form tool is really Edit Form. That is very confusing.

I agree! And that is only one thing among many that continues to be
confusing about the choice of labels in Acrobat - The "Touch Up Reading
Order" panel, anyone?