[Athen] in Adobe Pro, what is difference between bookmarks and headings

Turner, Mark mturner at calstate.edu
Wed Jul 2 15:54:22 PDT 2014


I'm certain that others will chime in as well but here's my 2 cents. In much the same way that heading tags (1) convey the semantic structure of the PDF and (2) allow navigation by that structure for screen reader users, bookmarks provide this functionality to ALL users and have particular benefits for those with mobility limitations (significantly easing content navigation via keyboard) and cognitive disabilities (by summarizing the document in list format).

In many cases, the workflow for producing PDFs with headings can also be leveraged to automatically generate bookmarks from the existing headings. See the W3C's PDF2: Creating bookmarks in PDF documents<http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/PDF2.html> page for more details on both the rationale for bookmarks and techniques to implement them.

Bottom-line: I generally suggest that authors use bookmarks. They provide clear benefits for users, are easy to implement (at least with common source formats such as MS Word), and don't generally create other issues.

Hope that's helpful.


Mark Turner, M.A.
Associate Director, Accessible Technology Initiative
CSU Office of the Chancellor
(562) 951-4353 voice
(562) 951-4857 fax
mturner at calstate.edu<mailto:mturner at calstate.edu>

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of KRISTA L. GREEAR
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2014 3:20 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] in Adobe Pro, what is difference between bookmarks and headings

Perhaps a silly question to ask but I did not find a satisfactory answer online to "what is difference between bookmarks and headings". I understand that headings are one type of tag and tagging provides the necessary structure for screen reader users to access PDFs. However, I would like to know if bookmarks offer any accessibility support.


Krista Greear
Accessible Text and Technology Manager
Disability Resources for Students
University of Washington

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