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Re: [Athen] Update: PDF Maker problems


From: Steve Green
Date: Sep 29, 2021 5:43AM

Thanks Phil, that's really helpful.


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Philip Kiff
Sent: 29 September 2021 12:09
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] [Athen] Update: PDF Maker problems

On 2021-09-29 04:15, Steve Green wrote:
> Returning to the topic of Microsoft's PDF export utility for Word (File / Save As / PDF), why do so many of you not use it? Are there any specific things it does badly?

I think some of the reasons why people use Adobe's "Save as Adobe PDF" export instead of Word's built-in "Export as..." feature are historical and some are just habit.

I know that many people on this list and elsewhere recommend using Word's built-in export engine. But when I evaluated the differences 4-5 years ago, the Adobe engine was decidedly better for the documents I worked on. In particular, the tag tree created for long tables and long, nested lists (spanning more than one page) in a PDF from Word were mangled, and would require considerably more manual remediation time for me than the (also somewhat broken, but not "mangled"!) tags produced by Adobe's engine. Adobe was (and still is) more likely to properly tag label (Lbl) elements in a list item. Links that spanned more than one line were rendered better. And Adobe was more likely to create a Table of Contents that didn't require retagging from scratch.

In some cases, Word's export engine at that time would even choke on long documents and only output tags for two-thirds of it, or drop whole pages.

Both rendering engines have developed quite a bit since that time. I suppose it is now just out of habit that I continue to select the Adobe engine over the built-in Microsoft engine if I don't have other options.

By other options, I mean the axesPDF for Word or the CommonLook for Office add-ins which both claim to generate PDF/UA-compliant PDFs directly from Word. My preference now is to use the axesPDF for Word add-in, which allows me to eliminate almost all additional PDF remediation work when generating a long Word document of a particular type - basically a 100-page standard Word document with a Table of Contents, simple-to-medium complexity tables, a handful of graphics, many nested lists, and a handful of footnotes.


Philip Kiff
D4K Communications