2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 27, 2013 1:56 PM by lanitwitchell

    InDesign Forms, Reading Order Problems when opened in Acrobat


      I am using Indesign CS6 to develop fillable, accessible PDF forms. I create the fields, drag them to the Articles panel and check the that the field order is correct. I have checked "Use for reading order in Tagged PDF" in the articles panel. I then export the file to PDF, choosing the "Adobe PDF (Interactive)" format. In the export dialog box I have "Create Tagged PDF" and "Use Structure for Tab Order" checked.


      When I open the file in Acrobat I first tab through the document to test if the fields are selected in the correct order. No problem. I then open up the Order Panel to make sure the reading order is correct. It is way off (1, 2, 21-32, 4-20). The document fails the accessibilty check. The suggested fix is to manually reorder fields in the Acrobat Order Panel.


      More often than not, if you try to reorder an item in the Order Panel, dragging it to a new location in the list, the item disapears from the list and is completely removed from the form. You then need to start from scratch, exporting the PDF file again.


      Can you build a form in InDesign that does not require manual reordering in Acrobat?


      Mac OS X 10.7.5

      InDesign CS6 (8.0)

      Acrobat X and XI (tested in both)

      Form: http://registrar.utah.edu/_documents/change-personal-information-2.pdf

        • 1. Re: InDesign Forms, Reading Order Problems when opened in Acrobat
          susanmoulton Level 1

          It would be really great if someone could address this, answer this, provide a link to this answer. With great momentum, I created a form with the great new feature that Adobe has promoted, but neither the assets panel or the object > interactive > tab order work for radio buttons. Only the first radio button is recognized. I have made sure to follow all directions setting "use for tab order" in the assets; and have exported adequately using tagged PDF and to use structure for tab order.


          Radio buttons don't work and when I try to edit the tab order in Acrobat 10, there is no tab order window to move anything around. It is missing. Most of the time when I an in edit mode, Acrobat crashes.


          This is costing my company a lot of money for me to waste my time on a form that needs to work when I could have done it all manually in Acrobat (taking forever also). Now that I have wasted hours trying to get this work and I would guess around 25 crashes, restartine, exporting in various ways with various settings, looking up forums, I must start over.


          Did someone release a feature to sell software before it was ready to be released???


          Please help someone. Direct me to a forum that might solve my company's problem.


          Thank you for any help I can get. I am pretty desperate here.

          • 2. Re: InDesign Forms, Reading Order Problems when opened in Acrobat
            lanitwitchell Level 1


            I have been making quite a few forms "fillable" to meet accessibility goals. I have found the combination of InDesign and Acrobat to work. But there some required steps. When you do an accessibility check in Acrobat it will test tab order and reading order. The problem is that trying to fix that order in Acrobat doesn't work. I have tried to move an item to correct spot in the reading order. The result was that the item literally disappeared from the form. The answer is to pay attention to tab order and ignore reading order.


            For screen readers, the key is tab order. For every text item, set of radio buttons, check boxes, etc. you need to create an article in InDesign. Articles build the tab order of the document. For radio buttons, I generally group them together and then create an article. Looking at the article panel you will see that the new article contains a group. You need then to ungroup the radio buttons and order them correctly in the article window. Click on a single button and see where it is inside the article. Move it in the article box so that the order of the buttons are correct. Once the article order is correct, the tab order is right and it will read correctly in a screen reader.


            After exporting the file, I open it up in Acrobat and, in Properties, select Initial View – Document and Advanced/Language – English. I then do an accessibility check in Acrobat. (Acrobat 11 provides an easier to read accessibility report.) The accessibility check will always say that the reading order needs a manual check. I ignore this. I then save the form – Save as Other – Reader Extended PDF – Enable More Tools. After completing the form I do two accessibility checks. I fill in a copy of the form using keyboard only. I also listen to the form in a screen reader. NVDA is free and I run it in Parallels on my Mac. To test radio buttons in the NVDA screen reader, tab to the first button. Other buttons within the group are selected with the arrow keys. A tab will take you out of the radio group and to the next item in the form.


            I hope this is helpful.


            Lani Twitchell