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Acrobat 9 accessibility check: Common repair hints

Learn some common repair hints from the Acrobat 9 full-check report for making PDF files accessible.

By Kurt Foss – June 1, 2009


Some of the most common repair hints from the Acrobat full-check report for making PDF files accessible include the following:

Creating PDF Tags

This document is not tagged. To add tags, do one of the following:

  • Re-create the PDF file from the authoring application with tagging enabled.
  • Choose Advanced > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document to infer the tags.
  • Choose Advanced > Accessibility > TouchUp Reading Order Tool to create the Tags tree manually using the TouchUp Reading Order Tool.
  • Create the Tags tree manually using the Tags panel.

Providing Missing Unicode Encodings

Missing character encodings cannot be repaired in Acrobat. You will need to re-create the PDF file. When re-creating the file, the following tips may correct the problem:

  • Use a different font, preferably OpenType, in the original document.
  • Re-create the PDF file with a newer version of Acrobat Distiller.
  • Use the latest AdobePS driver to create the PostScript file, then re-create the PDF file.

Adding Alternate Text

Before repairing this problem, you must add tags to the document.

To add alternate text to an image, choose Tools > Advanced Editing > TouchUp Object Tool. Click the image. Right click and choose Properties... from the context menu. Click on the Tag tab and fill in the alternate text field. To add alternate text to tags in the tags panel, select the tag, choose Options > Properties, click the Tag tab, and fill in the alternate text field.

Defining Tab Order

To set the tab order for links, form fields, comments, and other annotations, click the Pages tab in the navigation pane. Select a page thumbnail and choose Page Properties from the Options menu. In the Page Properties dialog, click Tab Order and select Use Document Structure. Repeat the steps for all pages in the document.

Tagging Table Header Cells

Use the Table Inspector Tool to tag the table header cells. Choose Advanced > Accessibility > TouchUp Reading Order, right-click the table, and choose Table Inspector from the context menu.

Specifying a Language

  • Set the default language for the entire document by choosing File > Document Properties > Advanced tab and setting the Language field.
  • Set the language for all the text in a subtree of the Tags tree by selecting the element at the root of the subtree, choosing Options > Properties, clicking the Tag tab, and filling in the Language field.
  • Set the language of any amount of text by selecting the text in the Content panel, choosing Options > Properties, clicking the Tag tab, and filling in the Language field.

Adding Content to the Structure Tree

  • When content is not included in the Tags tree, you may wish to add it to the tree or to mark it as an artifact, since screen readers skip over artifacts.
  • To mark it as an artifact, select the content in the Content panel, and then choose Options > Create Artifact.
  • To add content to the tree, use the TouchUp Reading Order Tool or use the Tags Panel.
    • To use the TouchUp Reading Order Tool, choose Advanced > Accessibility > TouchUp Reading Order.
    • To use the Tags Panel, select the content in the document with the Select Text tool, the TouchUp Text tool or the TouchUp Object tool. Select its parent in the Tags tree, then choose Options > Create Tag from Selection. Drag the new tag to its correct location, if necessary. For comments, links, and annotations that are not included in the structure tree, choose Options > Find. Select the type of item to search for and choose Find. Tag Element will let you add the item below the currently selected element in the Tags tree.

Making Scanned Text Accessible

If this document appears to contain text, it may be a scanned image. Choose Document > OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text Using OCR to add text to scanned images.

Acrobat can help do accessibility right

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Comments for this tutorial are now closed.

Lori Kassuba

3, 2013-05-31 31, 2013

Hi sambhu,

Can you post your question here so we can help you interactively:

Be sure to choose the Accessibility category when you post your question.



7, 2013-05-31 31, 2013

thnx , Lori I was successful in creating one with your help . But a new problem has creeped up the file size increases 4- 5 times , can u pls guide as to how to keep the same within the scanned page limit.

Lori Kassuba

4, 2013-05-28 28, 2013

Hi sambhu,

I tracked down some suggestions on the site from Duff.
The ten commandments at the ‘core’ of a PDF Accessibility Best Practices Workflow are as follows - some can be resolved when using the Accessibility checker.

- Identify and resolve low contrast and color-used-as-content situations
- (If a scanned document) OCR and correct the output. OCR errors are not permitted in accessible documents.
- Add hyperlinks as required, or check existing links for validity
-  Run “Add Tags” in Adobe Acrobat Professional, or other of PDF tagging software
- Check and correct tag order (text and graphics tagged in correct logical order, artifacts marked)
- Check and correct heading, list, and table structures and language attributes
- Add alternative text to image tags
Ensure file metadata is correct and the document’s language property is set
- Add bookmarks (outlines) if the document is longer than ten or so pages
- Quality control, optimize and deliver



12, 2013-05-25 25, 2013

are there any parameters to be followed at the time of scanning the documents , so that it is easily converted to pdf/a-1a format


5, 2013-05-22 22, 2013

Thnx Lori
I’ll try it out and get back to you for more help.

Lori Kassuba

5, 2013-05-21 21, 2013

Hi sambhu,

If you use the Standards wizard in Acrobat XI Pro., it will explain the intents of specific formats as it guides you through the process. To do this open the Preflight box, and click Standards. Select Save As PDF/A and click Continue.



5, 2013-05-20 20, 2013

Pls if possible provide me the full tutorial of making a pdf/a-1a compliant file ( including how to solve the problems shown up in preflight inspection)

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