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RE: adobe 6.0 accessibility


From: Zwack, Melanie
Date: Oct 10, 2003 11:55AM


Yes, I agree with what you are saying:

For Quark and Word Perfect, I use the make accessible plug-in (or Add Tags
to Document in Acrobat 6.0 Professional) as you say. Quark I don't always
have consistent results though, but for some reason with WordPerfect, the
couple of documents I've tried have worked very nicely (that's just my
experience though).

Also, I've had good experience with the several PowerPoint 2000 documents
that I've tried to convert. They converted nicely. If I recall correctly,
these were converted right in PowerPoint2000 and worked with the PDFMaker
option and worked very nicely.

I would really love to hear how you are adding tags manually. For some
reason, I've had a lot of problems with adding tags manually. I would
appreciate your help with this, if you could let me know how you do this.

Thank you for your input --


-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 1:29 PM
Subject: RE: adobe 6.0 accessibility


Your comments strangely conflict with those I heard while at an Adobe
Seminar on how to create Accessible PDFS.

(1) Only Word 2000 and higher and certain Adobe desktop publishing products
(PageMaker, InDesign) can create native accessible PDFs - no other software
can create accessible PDFs (without the use of the Make Accessible plugin
which is not very effective). Therefore, I am surprised to hear you say that
Quark (complex layouts aside), Excel 2000, PowerPoint 2000 and WordPerfect
can create accessible PDFs. In our gov't, some ministries are using Office
97 and some WordPerfect Suite. According to the Adobe representative,
neither can create Accessible PDFs. Adobe would like to work with Corel to
enable it to create Accessible PDFs but because of the CorelDRAW/Illustrator
and Corel Photo-Paint/Photoshop competition, WordPerfect has been reluctant
to work with Adobe on this issue.

(2) The Make Accessible plugin is not very good. Part of accessibility, in
PDFs as well as web pages, is the use of proper document structure such as
proper headings. The Make Accessible plugin does not mark headings as such
but just as paragraphs (which happen to have large font size and bold but
those are just style issues, not structure issues). The Make Accessible
plugin tags each paragraph and object (graphics for example) with tags which
for proper accessibility, headings marked as paragraphs should be changed to
headings. Alt text on images may not truly reflect the content of the images
and would have to be modified after the Make Accessible plugin was run. I
was told by the Adobe representative that if the PDF has a table but without
visible borders, the Make Accessible plugin may fail to mark it up properly
as a table. A complex document with sidebars, pull quotes, floated tables
and other "out of context" information may have the reading order of the
information out of proper order. Reading order also can be a problem if a
table has no borders.

You also related issues you had with creating an Accessible PDF. You
mentioned that after creating the PDF (with graphics in it) you had to add
the Alt text - not necessarily true. In Word 2000 and higher, if you double
click on an image in Word, there is to the far right a Web tab. Click on it
and type the alternate text. That text will be transferred to the PDF.

In my case, the document language never comes through to the PDF so I have
to manually add that to the PDF but that is a quick step.

I don't have any problems with adding tags (Acrobat 5.05) although because
of the experiences I have had over the last year or so with creating
accessible PDFs, I have narrowed the problems down to very few. Footnote
links do not transfer for me so I have to add a link tag to the superscript
number (or symbol).

I created a document on my experiences with creating an accessible PDF and
made it available for anyone to download. It is on my personal website (not
visible from a link) at http://jrickards.ca/accessible_pdfs.zip (about

Julian Rickards
Digital Publications Distribution Coordinator
Publications Services Section
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Phone: (705) 670-5608
Fax: (705) 670-5690

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