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Re: PDF column tag


From: Murphy, Sean
Date: Jul 25, 2022 5:18PM


I see the column attribute very important to inform the screen reader user of the document structure. This is possible in Windows Word with Jaws for Windows to obtain this information. PDF should provide the same capability as I see this linkage with 1.3.1 Information and Relationship. As it helps users understand how a document is being structured so they can reuse similar structure when they are creating their own documents. As this is a challenge for vision Impaired users in learning and understanding document structure if they have never had sight.

This feedback is from individuals in my network who want to create professional documents and always find this a challenge and want to be independence.

The flip side of course not knowing it is in columns layout doesn't impact readability as long as it is done right.

Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy | Senior Digital System specialist (Accessibility)
Telstra Digital Channels | Digital Systems
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-----Original Message-----
From: Duff Johnson < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Sent: Monday, 25 July 2022 11:06 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Cc: Murphy, Sean < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] PDF column tag

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HI Sean,

> When a document is using newspaper column style or has content in two columns. Does PDF have a column tag? If not, how do you fix the reading order for columns so the screen reader reads column 1, then column 2, etc. If someone can provide an example of the tagging.

There is no “column” tag; in PDF, text displayed in columns is tagged normally with heading, paragraph, etc. tags. The tags follow the flow of the text through the columns, but need not represent the columns themselves.

PDF does include “Column attributes” for grouping elements (see in ISO 32000-2), however the PDF community has never actually determined that this attribute has an accessibility relevance. If someone can identify such a relevance I’d be delighted to take it back to the committees working on PDF/UA-2.

> Currently it is being done in a Table.

This is incorrect for text laid out in columns, as such content does not have table relationships.