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RE: Acrobat 6.0 Accessibility issues


From: sean keegan
Date: Dec 19, 2005 11:40AM

Hi Chris,

Just a quick comment - I do not work for Adobe, but have some experience
with the creation process behind accessible PDFs.

> For example, the process of conversion from Word via the Acrobat icon, or
File > Print > Adobe PDF, which uses the

> producer: Acrobat Distiller 6.0.1; or the process within Acrobat
Professional 6.0 File > Create PDF > From file... never

> seems to work appropriately.

To create a tagged-PDF, you need to make sure that Adobe Acrobat has
installed into the MS Office suite. One quick way of checking this is to
open MS Word, and look to see if the menu bar selections "Adobe PDF" and
"Acrobat Comments" are visible to the right of the "Help" menu bar option.

I have had some issues with using the Adobe icon, so my suggestion is to
choose "Adobe PDF" from the menu bar and select "Convert to Adobe PDF".

> .when I add tags to the Acrobat 6.0 PDF document, the alternate text
inside Word's 'Format Picture' window never comes

> across with the conversion

If you add a text description to an image in MS Word (using the "Format
Picture" process), then you need to create the PDF from MS Word using the
above procedure I described. You will not be able to use the File > Print >
Adobe PDF method and create the tags later in Acrobat and still have the
text description present.

>.and several of the styles (for example: heading 1, heading 2) do not
convert to their respective tags (H1, H2, etc.).

The heading information is being pulled from the Styles and Formatting
information in MS Word. In other words, in the tagged-PDF in Acrobat it
will say "Heading 1" because in MS Word that is how the style is defined.
If you change the style in MS Word to H1, then that is what will get
generated when you create a tagged-PDF. The Styles and Formatting in MS

> The same thing happens when I attempt to create a PDF from inside Acrobat
using File > Create PDF > From Web Page...

> (Acrobat Web Capture 6.0).

Unfortunately, I cannot comment on this feature in Acrobat 6. I have used
this in Acrobat 7 and as long as you select the option to create PDF tags,
then it creates the tags based on the HTML structure. This is a checkbox
under "Settings" when you choose to "Create PDF from Web Page". The catch
is that if the HTML structure is all wacked (my technical term), then the
PDF tags will not make much sense.

I put together a training manual for our system on how to create accessible
PDF documents with Adobe Acrobat 6 (at:
It is under a Creative Commons License, but you are welcome to take a look
at it. Drop me a line if you have any questions about it. I realize that
you are limited to Acrobat 6, but if you have the chance to upgrade, Acrobat
7 does offer improvements in accessible PDF creation.

Can you do visually rich graphical/magazine-type layouts in MS Word that get
easily converted to tagged-PDFs? In my opinion, not really. It works best
for more simple design layouts that may be 1-3 columns with basic data
tables and images. If you want to go for the visually complex style layouts
and maintain the tagged-PDF output, I would suggest you check out InDesign
(a mid to high end layout and design tool).

All this being said, I do remember there was a patch that was important when
using Acrobat 6 with Word XP (it was also included in an update to Acrobat
6). I tried looking at the Adobe site for this, but could not find it. My
suggestion would be to start Acrobat 6 and then apply any updates that are
available for version 6 as this may help.

Hope this helps.

Take care,


Sean Keegan

Web Accessibility Instructor

High Tech Center Training Unit for the

California Community Colleges

Cupertino, CA