Review Reading Order in Tags Panel

1. Review Reading Order in Tags Panel

2. Review Reading Order in Order Panel

3. Export/Save As Text Accessible

4. Assistive Technology to Check Reading Order

Using the Tags Panel to Check for Tags

As mentioned earlier, the Tags panel displays all the structural elements contained in your documents such as paragraphs, headings, links, lists, images, etc.  The order in which these items are displayed is the order in which they will be read out loud to a user of assistive technology.  Thus, it is important to ensure that the tag order is correct and that tags are not missing.  Begin by opening the Tags panel:

  1. If the Tags panel is not showing on the navigation bar, go to the View menu > Navigation Panels > select Tags.  This will open the Content, Order and Tags panels in a small window.  You can dock each panel on the left navigation bar by clicking on the tab name for each panel and dragging and dropping into the Navigational Panel.  Click on the Tags panel to view the Tags panel.
  2. In the Tags panel, you will see an icon labeled tags which has a (+) expand button next to it.  Click the expand (+) button to expand the list of tags.  The expanded tags list may still contain collapsed items so you will need to make sure to click on all of the (+) expand buttons to see all tags contained in the document.  Take note of the tag order.
  3. To highlight content on your PDF as you click through tag items, click on the Options drop-down menu > select Highlight Content.

    Enabling the Highlight Content option when viewing tags in your document.

  4. Move tags around by click on a tag so that it is highlighted and dragging and dropping it to the correct location.

In the example below, the Tags panel shows reading order beginning with an empty paragraph and a figure.  The Read Out Loud feature in Acrobat and screen reading software like JAWS will read the PDF by announcing the figure information since it goes by what is delineated in the tags panel.

Checking the Tags Panel to assess reading order of PDF document.

Video Tutorial - Using the Tags Panel to Assess Reading Order (7:33)


  • This training has been funded in part by the EnACT (Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology) grant. 
  • Written and developed by Sacramento State Online Learning professionals, Monica Range and Cryssel Vera and technical crew, Ivan Vajar, Ken Young, and Jennifer Wicks with guidance from the CSU Professional Development Work Group.


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