assign reading order to the InDesign text frames

New Here ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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I have an InDesign file with interactive form fields. Exported to PDF the keyboard tab function picks up all the form fields (answer boxes) but completely misses all the text frames, the actual questions in the form. Is there a way to assign reading order to the InDesign text frames as well as to the form fields?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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If you want to set the reading order within InDesign, you need to specify "articles" to define discrete elements in your reading order. You can read more about building articles within InDesign by following this link.

 

But you mind find the better option is to set the reading order in Acrobat after you translate the form to PDF. You can get a better feel for the difference — and advantages — of setting reading order through Acrobat through this link.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Randy

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New Here ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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Many thanks Randy, I appreciate you taking time to reply.

The issue I really need help with is Tab navigation in the PDF.
As an approximation of how assistive technology works, I’m using the Tab key on my keyboard to move through the document.
When I do this, my cursor tabs through all of the interactive elements (in the right order) but NONE of the text.
Am I missing something fundamental?
Can the Tab key on a keyboard move the cursor through the text?
Thanks again for your support, it is appreciated.
Margaret.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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No, you're not missing anything. It's just a matter of nomenclature. And to a lesser degree, prioritizing.

 

When you start assigning reading order in a PDF, you essentially set it for your form fields. You just need to set it first to follow your trip through the form fields, in the sequence you're intending to lead your viewers through.

 

As for the rest? Acrobat offers other tagging tools for defining text reading order. Hopefully this link will give you some insight of the various options, and how you can best use them to your (and your viewers') best advantage.

 

Hope this fills in the gaps,

 

Randy

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New Here ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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So, the issue is not so much the reading order but the fact that none of the text in the interactive PDF has a cursor insertion point?

Do you know why that's happening?

I just can't figure it out...

Thanks again,

Margaret.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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Again, sort of.

 

You may want to try this:

 

  1. Create the text.
  2. Tag it.
  3. Then add the form features.

 

To be honest, this is pure SWAG — Speculative Wild And Guessing (had to clean it up a little). I've never created an Accessible PDF form before. But I've done accessible PDFs and form PDFs before.

 

It's worth a shot, right?

 

Randy

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New Here ,
Feb 10, 2022 Feb 10, 2022

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Yep!

Create the text (with Paragraph styles and Export tagging) first, then add form fields, is the way I have been working.

Thanks for your support.

Margaret.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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Update: I just ran across words from a PDF expert on this very issue. Chad Chelius, who's probably forgotten more about accessible PDFs than I'll ever know, just posted an article addressing accessible PDF forms on the Creative Pro website.

 

This link may interest you.

 

Randy

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New Here ,
Feb 10, 2022 Feb 10, 2022

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Great article! Thank you. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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Since you're creating your form in InDesign, you want to do these tasks:

  1. Thread your text frames into 1 or more "stories." The fewer, the better, but they must be threaded in order to create a good logical RO in the PDF's tag tree.
  2. If you have multiple threaded stories, use the Articles Panel to sequence them into a logical tags RO.
  3. Adjust the stacking order in InDesign's Layers panel. This gives a correct RO in the PDF's Order panel.
  4. After you've created the form fields, anchor them into the correct spot within your text.

 

For example:

Name [form field]

Address [form field]

Are you there?   [form field] Yes   [form field] No

 

Hope this helps.

 

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

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New Here ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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Many thanks Bevi, I appreciate you taking time to reply.

The issue I really need help with is Tab navigation in the PDF.
As an approximation of how assistive technology works, I’m using the Tab key on my keyboard to move through the document.
When I do this, my cursor tabs through all of the interactive elements (in the right order) but NONE of the text.
Am I missing something fundamental?
Can the Tab key on a keyboard move the cursor through the text?
Thanks again for your support, it is appreciated.
Margaret.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 03, 2022 Feb 03, 2022

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The Tab key will advance to the next form field; not the text.

Mike Witherell

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