[Athen] Heading 1 best practice: document vs web

Chagnon | PubCom chagnon at pubcom.com
Sat Mar 25 20:27:45 PDT 2017

For documents (PDFs), the PDF/UA-1 standard (ISO 14289-1-2016) states:

“If any heading tags are used, H1 shall be the first.

A document may use more than one instance of any specific tag level. For example, a tag level may be repeated if document content requires it.”

So there’s nothing in the standard preventing you from using multiple H1s in a PDF.

However, based on usability tests, we recommend keeping H1 for titles of the publication itself and possibly major sections of the publication, such as chapter titles. You decide what’s best for the publication; whatever you decide, stick with it throughout the publication and if you can, even throughout all of your college/university’s materials.

You can purchase a copy of the PDF/UA standard from Aiim.org http://www.aiim.org/Resources/Standards/AIIM_ISO_14289-1

PDF/UA is a good standard to follow for accessible documents. It was specifically developed to work with the encoding and features available in PDF files, which is quite different from HTML and websites. If you follow PDF/UA for PDFs, you’ll have a more accessible and usable PDF than by following WCAG for PDFs.

There is no ISO standard for accessible Word documents, but PDF/UA fits Word documents, too, so we recommend it for Office documents.

--Bevi Chagnon

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Bevi Chagnon | <http://www.pubcom.com/> www.PubCom.com

Technologists, Consultants, Trainers, Designers, and Developers

for publishing & communication

| Acrobat PDF | Print | EPUBS | Sec. 508 Accessibility |

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From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Preast, Vanessa
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:43 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Heading 1 best practice: document vs web


I’m trying to put together a best practice handbook for our stakeholders. While H1 use is clear for webpages, I have not really been able to get a consensus answer on using Heading 1 in documents. Is Heading 1 always only used once to mark the title, or can it be used multiple times in a Word document? If the former, it seems to not fit well with the auto-generated table of contents, which pulls in H1, H2 and H3 by default…. What about book chapters vs book title?

True or False? Heading 1 can be used multiple times within a MS Word document assuming the rest of the headings are nested appropriately. (Unlike a webpage which only uses Heading 1 once per page).

If there is a definitive answer on using Headings in documents, can you refer me to them? I want to make sure I’m providing the best information.



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