Correct Reading Order

Your document's reading order is the order in which a screen reader will read its elements. While Adobe Acrobat XI will attempt to establish a reading order automatically as you tag elements in your document, the order it creates is often incorrect. You must check and / or correct your document’s reading order manually after you have tagged all of your document’s elements. Do this in the Tags panel.

Open the tags panel from the View menu

If the Tags Panel option is not available in the sidebar (icon of a tag), open it by:

  1. Select VIEW
  2. Select SHOW/HIDE
  3. Select NAVIGATION PANES
  4. Select TAGS

The Tags Panel will open on the left of your document window and is displayed in a tree structure. Select the "+" icon to expand the Tags tree. (Hold down the CTRL [Option key in Mac] key and click on the first tag in the tree to quickly expand all the tags)

The tags panel shows the tags in a tree structure

You can also select a tag in the Tags Panel and associate it with an element in the document.

Select the Options icon and ensure "Highlight Content" is selected

Activate highlight content from the options menu

Select the first tag in your list and ensure it matches the first item in your document. Using your down arrow, move through the list of Tags while seeing if the highlighted elements follow the logical reading order of the document.

use the tags panel to check reading order

If a Tag needs moved to correct the reading order, it can be done via "drag and drop" in the tree structure.

  • Click and drag any tag that is in the wrong place into the correct place
  • Continue to select and move tags until the order of the tags list matches the order in which the document's elements should be read on your page

fix reading order using drag and drop

After your have verified (and fixed if necessary) your reading order, continue to Step 9: Setting the Tab Order

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