Recently I was tasked with ensuring a two-page document was §508 compliant, something that I do every day. I didn’t really expect any hang-ups; even the most complicated two-page PDF is still only two pages. I got through the first page with ease. Navigating via the Tags panel, as I do, I landed on a table in the second page. Acrobat immediately stopped responding. Frustrating, but Acrobat is not the stablest of software, so I didn’t think much of it.
PDF 1.7 supports a limited number of standard tags, limited enough that I can freely list them here: Document, Part, Article, Section, Division, Block quotation, Caption, Table of Contents (TOC), TOC item, Index, Paragraph, Heading, six hierarchical Heading levels, List, List item, List item body, Label, Table, Table row, Table header cell, Table data cell, Table header row group, Table body row group, Table footer row group, Span, Quotation, Note, Reference, Bibliography entry, Code, Link, Annotation, Figure, Formula, and Form.
Prompted both by troubleshooting a comrade’s accessibility work (related to this short RPG collection which you should absolutely check out!) and a recent instance of tags in a work document turning to random bytes, I thought it might be valuable to briefly go over the three main ways to tag elements in a tagged PDF in Adobe Acrobat. Ultimately they should all do the same thing, but because it’s an Adobe product, they all come with their own unique quirks.