Skip to Main Content

Advanced PDF Tagging Workshop

taught by: Teenya Franklin

co-presented by: Desiree Sturdevant & Brent Bakken

Session Summary:

During this session we will be walking attendees step by step through manually tagging a complex PDF document containing lists, tables, and form fields to ensure accessibility and usability.


If you have ever worked on a PDF with complex content items (lists, tables, and forms) then you may already be aware of the mysterious anomalies that can occur when these items won’t tag correctly using either the touch-up reading order or the auto tagging tools available within Acrobat DC.

If this is the case, then maybe we can help ease your frustrations! Join us for this all-day PDF tagging workshop where we will work through a sample PDF and teach you how to manually tag lists, tables, and form fields, as well as work through any anomalies we may encounter.

We will start by reviewing a sample complex PDF that was tagged using the “auto-tag” feature in Acrobat. This will demonstrate how sometimes what you “see” is not always accurately represented when using assistive technology to access content within electronic documents. Next we will review a fully accessible version of the same PDF, quickly demonstrating how the document is supposed to render when being accessed using screen readers.

Once session attendees have experienced some of these issues firsthand we will work our way through manually correcting the tags in the sample PDF provided. This will demonstrate how these remediations can ensure that the file passes the built in Acrobat accessibility checker as well as the checkpoints for PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility).

Our purpose for teaching you how to manually tag these items is simple, auto tagging can make tagging simple documents easier, but when it comes to complex content, auto tagging causes issues, making the task of remediation much harder. However, if armed with the knowledge of how to tag a document manually you can easily identify and correct most issues caused by auto tagging (even when they just won’t act right!), therefore reducing time effort and money on cost of remediation of documents.

Note: This course is a hands-on lab, we will not be providing presentation materials after the course. However, at the end of the session we will provide several resources you can use as you work through your own documents and build your remediation skills.

Practical Skills:

  • Properly tagging complex PDF documents
  • Addressing hidden access barriers in PDF documents
  • Proper conversion techniques and strategies to preserve accessible documents


This class assumes a basic understanding of accessibility tagging. While we welcome students of all skill levels, if you have little to no experience with tagging PDF documents, we must warn you that this session will be advanced and we will not be covering basic techniques. For those who are new to PDF accessibility we recommend you attend the Basic PDF session and any other relevant courses available.