[Athen] Inline Images and PDF Tags

Susan Kelmer Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu
Mon May 3 07:32:09 PDT 2021

I wonder what Omnipage would have done with that PDF. I wonder if you’d mind sending to me, I’m curious!

*Please note: I am currently working remotely, so can be reached by email.*

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs
T 303 735 4836

[cid:image001.png at 01D598AC.79FC1C60]

Due to the nature of electronic communication, the security of this message cannot be guaranteed. If you’ve received this email in error please notify the sender immediately and delete this message.

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Karen McCall
Sent: Saturday, May 1, 2021 5:54 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Inline Images and PDF Tags

Just to add to frustration, I am working on updating my online course on the basics of tagged PDF and reworked the Word document on adding links. Not sure how long this has been going on, but even if you uncheck the check box in the Acrobat Preferences dialog NOT to add links, it does. And the links are only clickable, they are not accessible and don’t show up in the Tags Tree. They don’t even show up if you go to Edit PDF and use any of the links tools. I couldn’t find a way to delete them. I tried Print to PDF and the inaccessible links still showed up. I tried printing the document and scanning it into Acrobat and the links still showed up. I ended up having to use the Windows Fax and Scan software to scan a TIFF of the document, open it in ABBYY FineReader, recognize the text and then save it as a searchable PDF. I returned to acrobat, went into Edit PDF and it was ONLY THEN that I could select the phantom links and delete then so I could walk people through how to create accessible links.

Not sure what is going on in PDF land but things seem to be getting worse not better.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Philip Kiff
Sent: Friday, April 30, 2021 10:26 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Inline Images and PDF Tags

I tried a couple things in the files you sent but I couldn't get the tag order to generate correctly either: not from the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC generator nor from the built-in Microsoft Word 365 generator.

Just as an FYI, when I used the axesPDF for Word plugin, the order *did* come out correctly. And I would bet that it would also come out correctly using the CommonLook Office plugin (thought I don't have that one to test).

The Microsoft built-in PDF generator has been getting better and better these past few years, but generally speaking, both the axesPDF and CommonLook products do a much better job producing an accessible, correctly formatted PDF directly from a well-formatted Word source.


Philip Kiff
D4K Communications
On 2021-04-30 21:12, Steve Green wrote:
Welcome to the weird world of accessible PDFs. I see the same issue as you, and I have no idea how to fix it in the Word document.

It’s strange that Acrobat does a better job of tagging. In my experience, that’s rarely the case. But with accessible PDFs, there’s an exception to every rule.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu><mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Joseph Polizzotto MA
Sent: 01 May 2021 00:53
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu><mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Inline Images and PDF Tags

Hi Steve:

Thanks for your response and for letting me know about the missing image. That image displayed the following screenshot of text in a DOCX file:

Boyle's law (where (P is the pressure and V is the volume)

Well, that's really interesting and good to know about general issues with the Adobe Acrobat Pro plug-in for MS Word. I will keep that in mind.

FWIW, I have tried just using the Save As > PDF route in MS Word to circumvent the issue that I described but it does not resolve it.

Using the Save As > PDF method, there is a difference in how the tags are created from the MS Word elements but the <Figure> tags for the inline images are still not in the correct place; with the Save As PDF method, in fact, they also come after the associated <P> tag but are not nested within the <P> tag, which is the case with the Adobe Acrobat Pro conversion method. In both cases, remediation would be time-consuming.

What's interesting is that with both conversion methods, if I delete the root tag and then add tags to the document in Adobe Acrobat Pro, the <Figure> elements are in the right place related to the <P> tag, just that the alternative text is missing. It's as if the Adobe Acrobat Pro's "add tags" feature does a better job of tagging from within than when it first ingests the DOCX through the MS Word conversion suite.

I am not sure why that is and would be even willing to delete all the tags, only to add them back, if it also meant that the alternative text would automagically reappear again. :-)


On Fri, Apr 30, 2021 at 4:13 PM Steve Green <steve.green at testpartners.co.uk<mailto:steve.green at testpartners.co.uk>> wrote:
It’s strange that you should post this message now, because literally one minute ago I sent a lengthy email to all our staff explaining why they must not use Adobe Acrobat Pro's plug-in for MS Word for creating PDFs.

One of the reasons is that it does not seem to recognise the “Mark as decorative” checkbox in Word’s Alt Text pane, and it adds bizarre Alternate Text such as P1070TB2#y1.

Another issue relates to the use of simple text boxes in Word. Although we discourage their use, there are times that you want or need to use them. You can put images in the textbox, which can potentially cause a problem because you can add Alt Text to both the image and the textbox. If you do that, the Acrobat Accessibility Checker reports a failure due to nested Alternate Text, which is perfectly reasonable – you can’t have Alt Text inside other Alt Text.

The “solution” is to mark the text box as decorative and only add Alt Text to the image. If you “Save as PDF”, this does exactly what you would expect. The image is in the Tags panel with its Alternate Text. The text box is artifacted.

You might expect the Adobe Acrobat Pro plug-in to do the same, or at least do something intelligent, but it doesn’t do either of those. It puts both the image and text box in the Tags panel. As discussed above, it adds random Alternate Text to the text box. It then deletes the Alt Text you added to the image, and to add insult to injury, the Acrobat Accessibility Checker fails because of the missing Alternate Text!

I have also noticed the sort of issues you reported.

For the time being, my recommendation is to use Word’s “Save as PDF” feature instead.

BTW, all the images were missing from your email.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Joseph Polizzotto MA
Sent: 30 April 2021 23:53
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] Inline Images and PDF Tags

Hi Everyone:

I encountered a problem when converting an MS Word document with inline images using Adobe Acrobat Pro's plug-in for MS Word.

The problem is that the inline images appear in the incorrect place within the PDF tags panel. Specifically, the <Figure> tags for the inline images are located after the entire <P> tag with which they are associated.

Instead of the MS Word paragraph being broken up into separate chunks of content within the <P> PDF tag, the paragraph is contained as one block of text inside the <P> tag and the inline images are represented as <Figure> tags after that block.

For example, in the following snippet of an MS Word document, where P and V are inline images in the sentence:

alt=Boyle's law (where P is the pressure and V is the volume)

I find the following structure in the PDF tags panel:

Boyle's law (where is the pressure and is the volume)

If I remove the tags and add them back using Adobe Acrobat Pro, the <Figure> tags will be in the correct place, in between the correct blocks of text, but the alternative text for the images will be lost.

This is the desired tag structure:

Boyle's law (where
is the pressure and
is the volume

What have you done to address this issue? Is there a way to avoid having to remediate the PDF tags for this issue and get the correct tag order for inline images when using Adobe Acrobat Pro's plug-in for MS Word?

Note: I am using my MS Word's 365 (subscription) version with the continuous release version of Adobe Acrobat Pro (2021). I have attached the documents as well.

Thanks for your help,


Alternate Media Supervisor
Disabled Students' Program
University of California, Berkeley
(510) 642-0329

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20210503/7836d382/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.png
Type: image/png
Size: 8916 bytes
Desc: image001.png
URL: <http://mailman12.u.washington.edu/pipermail/athen-list/attachments/20210503/7836d382/attachment.png>

More information about the athen-list mailing list