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RE: Accesibility of PDF files & editing them

From: Jason Megginson <jason@bartsite.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2002 16:26:25 -0500
To: "Steven McCaffrey" <smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV>, <lguarino@Adobe.COM>, <Viral.Patel@exim.gov>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

This link will explain the plug-in for Microsoft Office tools.  I must say
that 'fairly complex' tables and alternative text to images can be tagged
and converted very well when using Word.

If you hate M-soft office, PageMaker 7.0 can also embed tags for
accessibility but the biggest problem I have found to make .pdf files
accessible is with tables.  There is no way to associate table headers with
data cells.  Because of this, it is close to impossible to make (let's say)
30 page documents quickly accessible. Therefore, advocates of accesibility
must manually make changes to the structure tree for 30+ pages of

Also, Corel 9 can convert (or publish)documents to .pdf but I'm not sure if
they convert to tagged .pdf documents.  Does anyone know?

I believe it is Adobe Acrobat's first stab at accessibility and I'm sure and
hope it will improve.

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven McCaffrey [mailto:smccaffr@MAIL.NYSED.GOV]
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 4:04 PM
To: lguarino@Adobe.COM; jason@bartsite.com; Viral.Patel@exim.gov
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Accesibility of PDF files & editing them

Hello J:

Thanks, some things to try.

You mentioned
the office package and tags can be sent to .pdf with the accessibility...
Can this also be done in Windows nt/2000 or do I need to go into, say MS


>>> "Jason Megginson" <jason@bartsite.com> 04/02/02 03:43PM >>>

Hello Steven,
I have done work with Adobe .pdf accessibility and came across the same
problem. If you are using Microsoft Office, an equation editor comes with
the office package and tags can be sent to .pdf with the accessibility
plug-in....as you probably know.

I was dealing with the problem, where Microsoft tools weren't used to
convert to .pdf and the eqaution had exponents and sub variables. The
solution I implemented dealt with the use of the structure tree's element
properties. I changed the alternate text on elements (for example..."A sub
c" and so on.) to explain the variables and figures more thouroghly.

I would organize and name the structure tree elements among numerators and
denominators and treat the division line as an artifact and give it
alternate text such as "divided by" or "division line". I fealt like this
was the best way to make an already created .pdf accessible with all of the
variables and mathematical figures.

Again, this solution is the best solution I have found if the equation is
already made into a .pdf. I would be interesed in any other techniques and
tools as well.

Hope this helped.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [ mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Steven McCaffrey
Sent: Tuesday, April 02, 2002 3:06 PM
To: lguarino@Adobe.COM ; Viral.Patel@exim.gov
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Accesibility of PDF files & editing them

Hi Loretta and all:

I have a slightly off topic (specific topic of alt text/forms in PDF)
but it may be related. I was interested lately in reading PDF's that
contain equations. One example is
Richard Feynman's nobel lecture
The Adobe translation tools and accessibility plugin work well on the text
portion, but the equations, as one might guess, get a bit garbled.
I was wondering if there might be a PDF to latex converter perhaps?
Might there be other suggestions?



Steve McCaffrey
Senior Programmer/Analyst

>>> Loretta Guarino Reid < lguarino@adobe.com > 04/02/02 12:23PM >>>
Have you looked at the document at


It describes a number of techniques for repairing accessibility problems in
PDF files.

Loretta Guarino Reid
Received on Tuesday, 2 April 2002 16:24:15 UTC

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