[Athen] Word to PDF bug when images are used

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Thu Apr 12 07:31:29 PDT 2012

I need your help. Please forward this message to others so they can send a
note to Microsoft to fix this bug. The bug is in Microsoft Word and has to
do with the PDF conversion tool.

I've reported the bug that we've experienced about <Figure> Tags directly to
Microsoft and Adobe several times. I thought this might expedite the repair
of the bug but it seems that they need a business case/impact to customers
in order to add it to a priority list. The more complaints the higher the
priority for repair.

For those of you who have talked to me about the bug, here is a summary and

After converting a Word document with images to PDF, every Figure Tag in the
document is thrown to either the top of the Tags Tree or bottom of the
current page Tags in the Tags Tree. This requires intense remediation of a
tagged PDF coming from Word when images are added to the document. There are
two components to this bug:

1. When images are added to a Word document without the use of Picture
Styles, the <Figure> Tags or equivalent are placed at the end of the Tags
for the Tags Tree on that page and out of the logical reading order.

2. This bug is compounded exponentially if Picture Styles are used in
a document. In that case all <Figure> Tags are thrown to the top of the Tags
Tree, again out of the logical reading order.

The impact to the person using adaptive technology reading the resulting
tagged PDF document:

1. When Picture Styles are used in creating the document and the
adaptive technology reads down the Tags Tree, the user will hear all of the
images with Alt-Text before they begin hearing any of the content of the
page. This is out of the natural reading order.

2. When Picture Styles are NOT used in creating the document all of
the images with Alt-Text will be read at the end of the page.

3. If the document has captions, the images and their corresponding
Alt-Text are read out of sync in the document.

Impact to document authors:

1. If a document author has created an accessible document containing
images/figures/captions using the proper Word tools and format, the document
will be invalid in terms of accessibility when it is converted to PDF
because the content is out of a logical reading order. This now requires the
author to repair the PDF document adding time and financial resources that
document authors shouldn't have to spend once they've ensured that their
Word document is accessible.

2. This error doesn't show up in an accessibility check of the Word
document because the Word document has been created to be accessible. Time
and financial resources have to be spent in correcting the resulting PDF
document to ensure that <Figure> Tags are where they are supposed to be in
the document to remediate the problem.

3. This type of issue does not appear in the Adobe Acrobat
accessibility full check either because the Tags are correct but they are
out of a logical reading order in the tagged PDF from an accessible Word
document. This takes time and financial resources to remediate in the tagged
PDF from Word.

4. If the document author has not used captions for images the
remediation is to:

a. Drag all <Figure> Tags to their logical place in the Tags Tree so
that the document reads correctly, or;

b. Put all <Figure> Tags in the background of the PDF document as
Artifacts so that screen readers and Text-to-Speech tools never see them.
If the images are related to content, this affects the readability and
comprehension of the document.

As an example, in documents with over X <Figure> Tags, and Y pages, the time
and financial resources to remediate this problem impacts the ability to
meet standards for PDF document accessibility and legislative criteria for
accessible PDF documents. Most countries, states or provinces now have
legislative criteria mandating the creation and distribution of accessible
PDF documents. There is an upcoming international standard for accessible
PDF which includes the logical reading order of the document. The results of
this bug are not cost-effective to repair which may result in legal action
against the organization required to produce accessible tagged PDF

So not only is this bug costing time and financial resources on the part of
the document author/organization but it may also result in legal action with
either financial compensation to the complainant or the mandate to repair
all documents affected by this bug.

This bug has existed since Office 2007. Although I've been diligently
advocating for it to be fixed, they want to hear from their customers
directly with the impact to business. We need as many people as possible to
post this bug and ask for it to be fixed!

Please either compose your own text or use this text with your own comments
and send this bug and any others you find related to accessibility issues in
Office or the PDF tagging tools and the business case/impact of the bug to
Microsoft answers. I've looked on the site and the best place to post things
is http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/word which seems to be
the Word forum.

Note: if you are using a screen reader or other adaptive technology this
site will most likely crash your adaptive technology and your computer. I
tried four times using a screen reader and each time I had to do a hard
restart to the computer. I finally got to the site without any adaptive
technology running. You might want to post that bug as well if you can.

As well as sending me any future bugs, please also post them in Microsoft
Answers as this seems to be the place to do so. The more voices on a bug the
more potential to have it fixed!

Cheers, Karen

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20120412/dd6fa95e/attachment.html>

More information about the athen-list mailing list