11 Replies Latest reply on Dec 1, 2017 2:28 PM by derrickl68715957

    Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?

    BBi-TM Level 1

      I'm having no luck finding any documentation about why my indesign file, when exporting a fully tagged and organized structured document yields <span> tags across the entire interactive PDF. Anyone run into this? I know I can change the tag once in PDF but why is indesign not exporting with the already assigned tags, and mapped styles to the tags that I've set. I recall fixing this one time but all current efforts have been futile.

      Any help would be appreciated it!

        • 1. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?

          I am having the same trouble. These Span tags only show when 'Structure types' is checked in the Touch Up Reading Order panel. I discovered you can change the Span tags to their proper tags by double clicking on the tag itself in the tags panel. However, if you have a very long PDF this would be painful. I am doing an annual report that is having this issue... Would love to know how to fix it!

          • 2. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?

            My colleague and I are having the same issue. We don't recall this being an issue in the past and are truly stumped by it. We've followed the directions in Mapping styles and tags and reviewing the other Accessibility: Indesign docs for a possible solution.

            • 3. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?

              Did you ever figure out what happened? I am having the exact same issue and I can't find a fix.





              • 4. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                BBi-TM Level 1

                I've got to be honest it's been over a year since we've finished that job and however i finally figured out for the export to not have <span> tags, i've forgot. I'm sure i'll have to recall next time we do that sort of job again.


                I can help by passing this along Creating Accessible PDFs (2014) as well as this course Advanced Accessible PDFs. I actually had the pleasure of speaking to the lecturer of both of those courses, Chad Chelius specifically about the <span> tag issue as well as a few other accessible PDF export issues. He guided me to his courses which if I recall did help me in the end - primarily by scrapping anything i built previously in indesign and reworking all the accessible portions of my files to what he told me specifically as well a what his courses offered. The whole course was basics for someone who knows what their doing but there are a few things that where covered that I either didn't know or missed while setting up my files.


                So in the long run - how to fix it quickly I don't recall since once it was done, it was done. BUT those courses will help you and I know i'll be referring to them again to job my memory.


                I do remember that even after indesign export - nothing was exactly percent and A LOT of the reorganization and work was still put into fiddling with acrobat to get things to go all Green from the accessibility angel (our projects where for a university, and where quite strict) but whatever I finally did - no complaints since.


                Hope that helps.

                • 5. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                  derrickl68715957 Level 1

                  Thanks for the update! I found that if I exported without tags and then tagged it in Acrobat then it was okay. However, this isn't a long term solution since that kind of tagging then needs way more tweaking.


                  I have set up the files properly, but it still happens. Adobe had no fix when I contacted them twice, but they are apparently looking into it. Very few people seem to have this issue, and it seems to be an InDesign issue.


                  Glad it worked out for you, and thanks for replying!

                  • 6. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                    BBi-TM Level 1

                    I agree - the clean export and retagging in Acrobat was what I recall helped but i 100% agree that there's an underlined deeper issue how indesign/acrobat talk to each other especially when it comes to accessibility.


                    It was a very drawn out process for me as well, long enough I used every resource imaginable to even get just one person on the phone that's possibly even heard of this sort of stuff.


                    Good Luck in the future and hope that Adobe actually find whatever bug seems to be at the root of this issue.

                    • 7. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                      rohit_ID Adobe Employee

                      Hi BBi-TM


                      Is this happening with all the documents you are exporting as PDF or is it specific to a document.

                      If this occurs for a specific document , can you please share your document at rdubey@adobe.com.



                      • 8. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?

                        We had this issue and I discovered that the spans ONLY affected the Content panel. So when staff doing accessibility remediation were using the Touch-up Reading Order Tool, they were seeing the content marked as spans. But the Tag panel show correctly marked up headers and lists etc. and that means the document meets accessibility standards.


                        While it is annoying in the extreme to have to deal with this mis-match, our work around is to verify after export that the Tags panel is showing rich markup, set the reading order tool to display content order so staff are not trying to "fix" what is in fact correctly marked up content, and have them focus on reading order and any other issues.spans.png

                        • 9. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                          derrickl68715957 Level 1

                          You are seeing the exact same thing I am! Thank you for sharing. This is from InDesign, correct? Is it 2018?


                          May I ask, did your InDesign>PDF conversion always do the weird span thing? Did it work okay and then go wonky?


                          From what Adobe tech and I worked out it is a problem with the InDesign files.


                          The problem is that many people I work with are scared of the Tags Panel and the TURO tool makes them less anxious of them (very few people I work with want to know anything about tags). I am hoping we can solve this one soon.


                          Thanks again, I feel less alone with this one!

                          • 10. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                            Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            There are two parallel discussions going on here. Here is the other one:


                            PDF is all spans from InDesign


                            Chad Chelius, looked at the file referenced in the above link and commented, "After looking at the file, I can see that the problem is that you don’t have any styles for the text in the document. All of the text is using the “Normal” style with local overrides to the text. This will always produce spans around all of the content which explains what you were seeing. I created a few styles for the first several lines of copy in your file, and you’ll see that if you export the file to PDF now, there are no spans. Keep in mind that these <span> tags are not a failure condition but it does make for messy tags. Always use styles in InDesign, not just for accessibility, but for efficient and consistent formatting as well.  hope that helps!"

                            • 11. Re: Export to interactive PDF yields only <span> tags?
                              derrickl68715957 Level 1

                              Thanks! I used styles on my document, so I am not sure what my problem is! We will figure it out!