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Manual tagging not creating tags

New Here ,
Apr 08, 2019 Apr 08, 2019

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I'm manually tagging PDF forms, as they have been created so that automatic tagging is out of the question. I ran into problems:

I'm using the TURO tool for tagging. It worked just fine for three pages of the four-page form. However, it stopped working on the fourth page. It lets me highlight an element by drawing a rectangle, but when I click on a tag button in the tool, the highlight just disappears with no tag being created. I tried other methods of adding tags, and the end result was the same: no tags appeared when I made a selection. There are zero tags on the fourth page of the form.

Any idea what is happening here?

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Standards and accessibility

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Engaged ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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First, I am not sure what you mean by "automatic tagging is out of the question". Are you not able to use 'Autotag Document' in the Acrobat Pro accessibility tools? If you don't want to mess up the tags throughout the document you can extract the misbehaving page, autotag it, then insert it back into the document and delete the original page. If that isn't the right solution for your case ...

I frequently run into content that resists manual tagging. I don't know why it happens, but here are some things to try ...

Check the Content Pane. If the content that resists tagging is already inside a container, drag it outside the container then delete the now-empty container. Frequently - but not always - the content can then be tagged. If that doesn't work ...

Sometimes I temporarily combine content that resists tagging with content that is properly tagged. For example, If I have a properly tagged paragraph followed by a paragraph that resists tagging, I can open the Content Pane, drag the content that resists tagging into the same <P> container with the properly tagged content, then - back in the Tags Pane, retag the first paragraph. This should split the combined paragraphs, giving you two properly tagged paragraphs. If that doesn't work or is too time consuming...

I have no idea why, but if I extract the misbehaving page I can frequently tag it with no issues, then insert it back into the original document and delete the original page.

If none of the above works, desperate measures are called for. I extract the page. In the Thumbnails Pane, I insert a blank page. I now have a two-page document - the misbehaving page and a blank page. Using the deprecated but still useful 'Make changes to object' tool, select all of the content on the misbehaving page. - copy. Move to the blank page - paste. Delete the misbehaving page, tag the formerly blank page, reinsert into original document, delete original misbehaving page.

Hope this helps.

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New Here ,
Mar 08, 2024 Mar 08, 2024

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LATEST

This really saved my life today. Thank you so much!

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2019 Apr 09, 2019

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Great suggestions from a C student

It might have some deeply buried residual crud code from MS Word or another program. We've found that Word documents that have been reused over and over throughout many different versions of Word end up with legacy code all over the place.

The crud just won't let Acrobat do its job. Especially common when trying to correctly tag tables and lists or using TURO tool.

Solution: go back to the source, strip it of all manual formatting (sometimes saving as ASCii text will clean it well enough), and re-export to a better PDF. But it doesn't sound like that is possible on your form unless you want to start over from scratch. Depending upon the document, that sometimes is worthwhile.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents |
|    PubCom |    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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New Here ,
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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Thanks for the replies, I will try those.

a_C_student: The forms are have originally been created for printing out and filling in on paper, and automatic tagging gets them completely wrong and just causes more work than doing everything manually. Redesigning the forms completely is beyond the scope of this project.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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Roope1970  wrote

.. and automatic tagging gets them completely wrong and just causes more work than doing everything manually.

There might be some confusion here.

When you say "automatic tagging" do you mean:

  • Automatically recognize form field areas and create the form fields?
    • Prepare Forms tool panel.
    • Select a file.
    • And it adds form fields where it can detect "form-like" areas.

  • Or Automatically tag the entire document with <Tags> such as <P>, <H1>, and <Form>?
    • Accessibility tool panel.
    • Autotag document.

Just to clarify, they are 2 very different actions and purposes.

Regardless of which one you choose to use (or both), there will always be errors by these automated tools and you'll have to adjust the <Tags> in the tags panel, adjust the <Form> tags and fields, delete junk the tools caught by mistake, and correct the reading orders in the Tag Tree panel and Form Fields panel.

An excellent webinar from Adobe about creating forms (by Adobe's accessibility expert, Rob Haverty) is available at: https://events-ar.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/881497641/en/events/catalog.html​   They are free.  You can register for upcoming events.

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents |
|    PubCom |    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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New Here ,
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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Bevi,

Thank you. I'm aware of the difference and the procedure. My mention of automatic tagging not being an option was just background so nobody offers it as a solution. Because of the visual design of the forms, the number of errors in automatic tagging is huge. And, like I stated, redesigning the forms is beyond the scope of this project.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 10, 2019 Apr 10, 2019

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For future readers, I've updated the link to Adobe's free online webinar recordings of making accessible PDFs.

PDF Accessibility Series Practice Files

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents |
|    PubCom |    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 27, 2023 Apr 27, 2023

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I have run into the same issue. Auto tagging creates so many problems, manual is by far a better option for me. The pdf was generated in latex and everything generally tags fine, but two paragraphs (that have no distinct uniqueness) absolutely refuse to be tagged. When the pages are pulled individually to tag, the same issue occurs. Ultimately, I opened it in a free online tag check and did it no problem.

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New Here ,
May 18, 2023 May 18, 2023

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TLDR;

I used to regularly fight with Reading Order and Accessibility Tags panels ALL the time, but after first sorting out the Content panel first, everything else becomes easier to manage.

 

Full Answer

I've been having this issue frequently and can confirm that a_C_student's answer regarding the Content panel is the right answer to this untaggable frustration. I'd like to add that I recently found that the pop-up Reading Order window that opens from the right hand Accessibility menu is integral to the Content Panel as much as it is for the Reading Order panel (i.e. both panels found on the left hand Accessbility menu). I would now suggest using the Reading Order window first in the Content Panel before ever touching the Reading Order panel and Accessibility Tags panel.

 

If you empty out the Accessibility Tags panel to start fresh (because the auto-tagging function is a disaster), first make sure that the primary folder/tag that will house all other tags is set to <Document>, then within that folder you can separate pages into their own <part> tags, but ultimately, to get tagging to work again, select Find from the dropdown Options button at the top of the panel, select Unmarked Content from the dropdown menu (and I would suggest keeping the finder on the page instead of whole document). Click the Find button to find the next markable piece of content. If the Find function cannot source out the content you want to tag, that means you need to (re)adjust the Content panel items to ensure it has properly marked content within your PDF as either accessible content for tagging or has the content set to artifacts. N.B. your content might need to be embedded within two containers in order for it to work. So if you see that your content is in a container, reselect that bit of content and use the Reading Order panel to select it's content type (paragraph, heading 1, figure, etc). You'll begin to see how the layout works, and can delete/adjust as you move along.

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Explorer ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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I discovered that when working on Long form PDFs from Indesign, where the issue of manual tagging does not work=
1  INITIAL WORK Set up: A) Open Indesign Doc. B) Open Acrobat W3C Doc.
2  Acrobat: Zero In on non read problematic table and its structure (If any).
3  Indesign: Zero in on original problem table.  A) Open a second blank doc.  B) Go back to Indesign file: Review headings in styles. (Tag structure of table looks fine?), COPY and PASTE table into blank document.

4  EXPORT Interactive PDF (open automatically in Acrobat).

5  ACROBAT:  A) VIEW> Split Page Arrangement  B) Go to problem W3C PDF Doc: EDIT> Delete Problem Table Only (One at a time). Go to single table PDF Doc.  C)  CHECK THE ACCESSIBILITY of that one table. Problem Cell? Correct Cell in INDESIGN Document. SAVE.  D) Go back to ACROBAT, COPY this table, INTO W3C Doc and its location. While still in EDIT Mode. Move and REPOSITION pasted selection to correct location on page.
6  PROCEED to Remediate the Table  through the Reading Order Panel: REMINDER: Tag One Row at a time, Starting at the top from left to right and restructure the tags table.

My name is Vincent J. Coleman 2, and I do Accessibility and awesome eye popping Graphic Design.

Don't forget to VOTE in ALL elections. And demand ACCOUNTABILITY from ALL elected Officials.
ONE
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Community Expert ,
Dec 20, 2023 Dec 20, 2023

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@EXAIRCreative, honestly, I couldn't follow your workflow — it's that complex and redundent.

 

First, what is B) Open Acrobat W3C Doc? What program are you opening it in? And why would you need to do this? Why not place/import it into the INDD layout?

 

Second, what is wrong with the problem table in Acrobat?

 

|    Bevi Chagnon   |  Designer & Technologist for Accessible Documents |
|    PubCom |    Classes & Books for Accessible InDesign, PDFs & MS Office |

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