7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 7, 2016 12:20 PM by Eric Hilliard

    Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF

    Eric Hilliard

      Hello All,

       

      This has been a bit of an ongoing issue, and I thought perhaps it might be fixed with an update, but alas it has not.

       

      To start off, I'm on a Windows 10 Machine, using InDesign CC (2015), and while the problem begins with InDesign, Acrobat DC I'm sure plays some role in this as well as the file is converted to PDF.

       

      Here are the nuts and bolts of the problem... I'm trying to create a document that meets Section 508 compliance for the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). This of course includes making sure images have the appropriate alternate text for people with visual disabilities, that utilize a screen reader. What I have noticed is that for very basic documents, there usually isn't too much of an issue, but the more visually complex a document is, even if the alternate (Alt) text is set properly, not all images have alternate text attached to them once it makes it over to PDF. Some will have the alt text, and some won't, with no clear or apparent reason why that would be. Everything is setup the same for each of the images, so alternate text should accompany all of them.

       

      Another issue I have that is related to the ADA issue is in regards to reading order. This of course is set using the Articles panel. Here again, despite setting everything up properly (everything is tagged accordingly and ordered in the panel according to the desired order), the more complex the document, the more likely the order will be wrong once exported to PDF, even though the reading order is correct in the panel. In the export options, the tagged PDF option is checked, but the reading order is many times not as it should be, and if you try to reorder things in Acrobat DC, layers begin shifting around, and elements of the document, including graphics, begin to disappear and act "buggy." I should also note that in the documents where reading order is correct when you listen to it with a screen reader, Acrobat's reading order tool will often show a completely different order that does not match up with what is actually heard using assistive technologies for those with visual disabilities.

       

      Again, most of the time, very basic documents will come out fine (though many times showing the incorrect reading order in Acrobat as mentioned above), but even a minimal amount of complexity or creative design put into a document will not yield the expected and NEEDED result. Any help would be very much appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

          The reading order is in my experience only correct, if the text is linked.

          When it comes to alternative text. You draw the out of the image meta information view Object export settings. Is that right? Does it fil with any file type or only with JPG or TIF or a specific kind. With captions there was a problem in the past that JPG's captions from its meta was ignored, so I had to work with PDFs.

          Or are you sure that the textual information is written into the image itself or only to the database of Bridge or Lightroom. Make sure that this information is part of the image itself.

          • 2. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
            Eric Hilliard Level 1

            I'm not sure what you mean by if the text is linked. According to the instructions provided by Adobe, you create your paragraph styles and set your tags (h1, h2, h3, p, etc.), and then use the articles panel to set your reading order, both for text and images.

             

            Yes, alternate text is set in the Object Export Options dialogue box, placing the alternate text both in the Alt Text tab and the Tagged PDF tab. The issue has been experienced with a variety of file types including jpg, png, tif, and ai files.

             

            I am not using Bridge or Lightroom. Links are set to the images in the appropriate file directories, and alt text is set within the Object Export Options dialogue box within InDesign, and not within the meta data sections of other applications.

            • 3. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

              Text is linked when it is not in different stories, but in the same text thread. The article panel is not respected when it comes to the reading order in a PDF, only in EPUB export.

              Try to edit the meta data in Bridge and draw that information into InDesign via the Object Export settings set up to meta information. I think you will be much faster that way, and try it, if it would work better that way.

              • 4. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
                Eric Hilliard Level 1

                Willi Adelberger wrote:

                The article panel is not respected when it comes to the reading order in a PDF, only in EPUB export.

                Not according to Adobe: "The article panel is not respected when it comes to the reading order in a PDF, only in EPUB export." ... "The article panel is not respected when it comes to the reading order in a PDF, only in EPUB export." -Creating accessible PDF Documents

                 

                I don't use Bridge for image management and am typically pulling from a large collection of imagery from a shared server used by other designers and creatives in different departments.

                • 5. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
                  Eric Hilliard Level 1

                  The correct quote did not post from Adobe. Apparently my Ctrl hotkeys are not working in Chrome...

                   

                  Adobe: "InDesign CS5.5 introduced the Articles panel, which makes tagging PDF documents easier than ever — you no longer have to use the Structure pane or Tags panel." ... "Articles provide designers and production artists an easy way to create relationships among page items. These relationships define the content to be used while exporting to ePub, HTML, or accessible PDFs, and define the order of the content." -Creating accessible PDF Documents

                  • 6. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
                    Chad Chelius Adobe Community Professional

                    The Articles panel in InDesign absolutely can control the tag order of elements (reading order) when used. If you use the articles panel, you need to make sure that you also choose "Use for Reading Order in Tagged PDF" from the Articles panel menu. You don't have to thread the text to control the reading order although the Articles panel doesn't allow you to insert an image in the middle of an existing text story. You still need to anchor the image to make that work.

                     

                    Regarding the alt text, I've not encountered this inconsistency that you are describing. Which specific version of InDesign are you using? I know you said CC 2015, but I'm curious which release.

                     

                    Exort_Screens_008.png

                    • 7. Re: Alt text does not follow all images on export to PDF
                      Eric Hilliard Level 1

                      Hello Chad,

                       

                      I do have use for reading order in Tagged PDF checked, but the order is still off fairly regularly after export to Acrobat. As far as the version, this is the 2015.4 Release, 11.4.1.102 x64 Build.

                       

                      For the life of me I cannot figure out why the alt text makes it with some images, and not with others. Another, annoyance related to alt text is that sometimes Acrobat sees one image as two. It will have alt text for the image, but then there is a highlighted blank area, usually to the left of the image that is the same size that it recognizes as an image in need of alt text as well. I'm thinking it has to be some sort of bug (all of these issues probably are) that is fixed by marking the blank an artifiact, but I really should not have to take the time to do that. :/