Review Tags

Check for Tags

If a PDF is, at minimum, able to be read by screen reader software intelligently, it will contain structural "tags."  These tags define the structure (layout and content) of a document for assistive devices such as screen readers.  A PDF that contains these structural tags may not, however, fulfill all requirements for accessibility

A PDF can be checked for structural "tags" by using Adobe Reader or by using Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional.  Further tests for accessibility ("full checks") can be performed using the full version of Adobe Acrobat (Adobe Acrobat 6 Professional and higher only).

If using Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional software:

On the Document Properties window under the description tab, locate the Tagged PDF field and notice if it displays Yes or No. If Yes displays, this means the PDF document is tagged.

  1. Open the PDF file in Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Click the File menu, and then choose Properties.  If on a PC, you can use the shortcut CTRL + D to access the Properties window.
  3. Click the Description tab at the top from the Properties window (see screenshot to the right).

If the document is "tagged" (contains structural tags), the section labeled Tagged PDF at the bottom of the Properties window will read Yes.


Video Tutorial - Checking Documents with Tags (2:15)

Adding Tags to an Un-Tagged Document

Option 1.  Once you check for tags by following the steps above and your document is not "tagged," before adding tags in Adobe Acrobat, you can attempt to retrieve the source document (Word, PowerPoint, etc.).  Add the structural elements necessary for the document to be accessible and correctly convert the document into PDF so that it will contain tags once you open it in Adobe Acrobat.

Option 2.  If the source document is not available, you can attempt to use Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional to save the PDF into its original format.  Please note that this conversion process may not maintain the look and feel of the PDF and will involve heavy editing on your behalf, but it is another option if you want to work from the source document.

Option 3.  Another option if the document does not contain tags is to add tags to your document within Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Click the Advanced menu.
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. Select the Add Tags to Document option from the menu.  Adobe will add tags to the document using the structural elements that were carried over from the conversion process from Word to PDF.

Video Tutorial - Adding Tags to Untagged Documents (2:55)

Option 4.  You can also check for tags in the document by using the Tags panel (specify how to access tags panel here).  If the Tags panel indicates No tags available, then you need to add tags to the document.

Video Tutorial - Checking for Tags with the Tags Panel (1:38)


  • 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.


If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site or need an alternate format, or you just have questions and want to give feedback, contact the Accessible Technology Initiative.

Copyright, 2009, All Right Reserved