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Vector graphics in Indesign - how do we tag them for accessibility.

New Here ,
Oct 08, 2019

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We have an InDesign document that includes vector graphics built in InDesign. They are not imported images so we can give them alternate text. 

 

When we export the file as a PDF, the graphics are not labeled at all. Acrobat seems to ignore them all together.

 

We need to label them because they are logos that are integral with the content.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Vector graphics in Indesign - how do we tag them for accessibility.

New Here ,
Oct 08, 2019

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We have an InDesign document that includes vector graphics built in InDesign. They are not imported images so we can give them alternate text. 

 

When we export the file as a PDF, the graphics are not labeled at all. Acrobat seems to ignore them all together.

 

We need to label them because they are logos that are integral with the content.

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Oct 08, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2019

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smc-pt wrote: includes vector graphics built in InDesign. They are not imported images...

 

What version of InDesign are you using? IIRC, it was only starting with CC2018 that graphical objects created in InDesign would export correctly tagged as <Figure> with Alt-text (or specked as artifacts).

 

And when it works, it's a bit dicey as to how the group of objects that make up the graphic will be interpreted and tagged. Unless it's a very simple graphic, we don't recommend doing that. As accessibility experts, our firm has to remediate our clients' PDFs built this way and it's not a cheap task to perform. 

 

Workaround:

  • Copy the graphic from InDesign and paste it into Illustrator.
  • Save it as an AI, EPS, or Illustrator PDF.
  • Replace the InDesign version with the new graphic (you can swap them out via the Links panel).
  • Add the Alt-text.

Should take approximately 60-90 seconds per graphic to do this swap.

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs | Books @ www.PubCom.com/books — NEW! Accessible InDesign + PDF

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Oct 08, 2019 1
New Here ,
Oct 17, 2019

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Hi Bevi,

Thanks for the response. We are using InDesign v13.0, which should be a CC2018 version.

 

Your solution is one I suggested to our designer as we tried to figure out a way to make this work. He did not want to hear that.

 

We could not find a way to add the alt text in InDesign for the InDesign Graphic, but even if we could, the graphic did not export as a "figure" to Acrobat so we couldn't add the alt text there either. The PDF ignored the graphic all together.

 

Thanks again.

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Oct 17, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 05, 2020

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Bevi gave you the best option. 

InDesign graphics, even grouped, will tag as separate objects, making it very confusing. Not the purpose of acessibility. 

 

This sounds as if you have a personnel problem. Your designer (or someone else instructing the designer) chose an inefficient workflow for producing these graphics. He is going to have to suck it up and fix the problem. 

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Apr 05, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Apr 04, 2020

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Do not recommend EPS anymore, as it is a lossy file type which does not support transparency nor color management.

 

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Apr 04, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 08, 2019

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Hi Bevi,

wouldn't it improve the workflow if the InDesign based graphics were created or transferred to their own InDesign documents and the InDesign pages were placed and tagged accordingly? That would take Illustrator out of the equation.

Alternatively a PDF/X4 could be placed that were exported from the graphic's own InDesign document.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Oct 08, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 17, 2019

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Hi smc-pt,

I'll better rephrase my suggestion from Oct 8:

 

Keep your InDesign graphics. But keep them on their own pages in their own documents.

Place the InDesign page from the InDesign graphics document and apply the tags to the placed page.

Or maybe better: Place exported PDF/X-4 pages from the InDesign graphics document and then tag them.

 

Could your designer live with that solution?

( No other app involved; just InDesign. )

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender

( ACP )

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Oct 17, 2019 0
New Here ,
Oct 17, 2019

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I don't think the problem was going from Illustrator to InDesign, it was going from his existing InDesign Document out to Illustrator, and then back. My guess is that he'll think it's a 6 or 1/2 dozen solution.

 

I'm sure he would prefer to keep it all in the single document. But if that's not possible, it is what it is. 

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Oct 17, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 17, 2019

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Hi Uwe,

Your earlier suggestion: "wouldn't it improve the workflow if the InDesign based graphics were created or transferred to their own InDesign documents and the InDesign pages were placed and tagged accordingly? That would take Illustrator out of the equation. Alternatively a PDF/X4 could be placed that were exported from the graphic's own InDesign document."

 

Yes, these techniques could work for some designs. In the InDesign-to-tagged-PDF workflow, all placed InDesign files are treated as graphics in the exported PDF. My concerns are:

  • We've found it hit-and-miss whether the Alt-text on placed PDFs and placed InDesign files will pass the Alt-text on to the PDF.
  • We still run into problems with assistive technologies (AT) that read every frigging object in the graphic, in addition to the Alt-text. Example: each label and bar in a bar chart is voiced and available to AT in the Content panel.

All around, I don't yet have a solution for graphics that have a "issue" causing them to fail accessibility checkers.

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs | Books @ www.PubCom.com/books — NEW! Accessible InDesign + PDF

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Oct 17, 2019 1
New Here ,
Apr 04, 2020

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I know it's been awhile since this post, but I have .ai files (text-heavy diagrams) that, when placed into an indesign layout, export to muliple tags in the pdf. It's a real mess and the elements can't be "healed." I use a workaround where I tag the image as an artifact, then I place a shape behind it (either a background color or "invisible" shape with no fill/line color) and I tag that with the alt-text.

 

I suppose if it _had_ to be tagged as a "figure," one could place a background or "invisible" image file, and then it would be tagged as a figure. But that doesn't solve OP's problem: she wants a self-contained document. However, if the final label doesn't matter (e.g. reads as "figure"), just tag an "alt-shape" with the alt-text, and then include the word "figure" _in_ the alt text.

 

not the most elegant solution, but it gets the job done quickly.

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Apr 04, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 06, 2020

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Try to avoid making "invisible" graphics or white-on-white graphics to solve this type of problem. They might be invisible to our human eyes, but they're still visible to computer "eyes" and cause problems for other AT (assistive technologies) used by people with other disibilities. A solution that solves the problem only for screen readers isn't really a solution.

 

Our recommendation:

Artifact all but one of the pieces that make up the graphic, and put the Alt-text on the remaining tagged <Figure> piece of the illustration.

 

And the best solution is for Adobe to fix this  *&^%$#@!  mess they've made with graphics created in Illustrator and InDesign.  The graphic should be treated as one <Figure> tag in the PDF with one Alt-text on it.

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs | Books @ www.PubCom.com/books — NEW! Accessible InDesign + PDF

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Apr 06, 2020 1
New Here ,
Apr 07, 2020

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Similar in issue i was provided GIS maps to include in my document and the AT (assistive technologies) would read every street name in the file...lol - I had to save a seperate file that i outlined all text and placed that file. Even when i tagged the placed AI or PDF file as an artifact, it would still read all the text inside the AI or PDF file.

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Apr 07, 2020 0