[accessibility] Testing PDF tagging with a pdf generated using pdflatex

Stitz,Tammy A tstitz at uakron.edu
Thu Mar 15 21:55:57 CET 2018

Hello Everyone:

I know that some of you wanted to know what happened when I tried to make a tagged PDF from a LaTeX generated PDF, so I am sending this email to the list. I tried a few packages when using pdflatex, but none seemed to make a structured, tagged PDF. The only software that I know that can add tags to a PDF is Adobe Acrobat. If you have used any other software, please let me know.

When Acrobat generated the tags, some strange things happened. (1) Some brackets and other large symbols like summations disappeared when I had Acrobat assign tags. I was thinking it might have to do with when a font was compressed. I adjusted what I used for commands (e.g. use bmatrix instead of \left\right). I was unable to find a pattern, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Many tags and much of the reading order needs corrected after Acrobat creates the tags. If you have mostly text and simple equations, the screen reader JAWS reads it well. I used my thesis as a test case and it had many matrix equations, which are read awful by JAWS. The only solution that I could find was to add alternative text to each equation, which was very time consuming. I wanted to find a simple solution that students would use when they submitted their theses and dissertations. I know this process can't take much time or effort. I think of one of my students, who was an excellent student, that said, "Could you read all the documentation for datatool and tell me the highlights"? Uh, no.
Here is an example of how JAWS reads without alt text and a matrix equation (video)
Here is an example of how JAWS reads with alt text and a matrix equation (video)
My tagged thesis posted on our institutional repository (PDF).
Best Regards,
Tammy Stitz
Associate Professor, Bibliography
Applied Sciences Librarian
Email: tstitz at uakron.edu
Office: 330-972-6192
Science & Technology Library
The University of Akron
Akron, Ohio 44325-3907
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