Accessibility Errors with PDF Maker Update Sept 2021
Several major bugs have been documented by users in the Adobe Community Forums since Acrobat and PDF Maker were updated on September 14, 2021.
1: Alt-Text from MS Word is not converting into the PDF. Instead, it is dropped and gibberish code is inserted. See https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/alt-text-converting-wrong-from-word-to-pdf/m-p/12393017 This violates the PDF/UA-1 standard which requires that every graphic have alt-text that verbally describes the graphic.
THIS IS A HUGE BUG. You essentially have made Acrobat unusable for those who are required by their country's laws to make fully accessible PDFs.
2: Every cell border on every table cell is being tagged as:
<P>PathPathPathPath. This violates PDF/UA-1 because unnecessary visual formatting is not being tagged at Artifacts.
3: The underline on Hyperlinks should be tagged as artifacts. Right not, it appears as one or more "PathPathPath" which is announced by different assistive technologies. See https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/alt-text-converting-wrong-from-word-to-pdf/m-p/12393017
4: Borders and background shadings on Text Boxes are being tagged as a combination of <Figure>s and PathPathPath. This too is a violation of PDF/UA-1. https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/alt-text-converting-wrong-from-word-to-pdf/m-p/12393017
5: Paragraph borders and shadings: same deal as #4 above.Per the PDF/UA-1 standard, they are visually decorative and should be artifacted. See https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/alt-text-converting-wrong-from-word-to-pdf/m-p/12393017
NOTE: To be correctly tagged per PDF/UA-1, the borders/shading content should:
— Not appear anywhere in the Tag tree, either as <Figure> or as "Path" in a yellow content container box.
— Not appear in the Order panel.
— Should appear as Artifact in the Content panel.
6: Dragging and dropping elements in both the Tag and Order panels is now broken.
The text cursor doesn't show anymore, and the little black line doesn't show anymore and instead appears several inches away from where it really is. See https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/alt-text-converting-wrong-from-word-to-pdf/m-p/12393017 and also https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/acrobat-pro-reading-order-box-and-tag-dragging-no-longer-visible/m-p/12395226#M329877
7: Once this update is installed, users can't revert back to a previous version of PDF Maker because Adobe doesn't allow that in Acrobat like it does with other Creative Suite applications.
So once the update is completed, it makes PDF Maker completely unusable for tagged accessible PDFs.
This affects millions of your government customers world wide, as well as millions of government contractors and millions of academic customers...all of whom are required by their country's laws to make accessible PDFs.
2 sets of sample Word and Matching PDF files are submitted as demonstrations of the problems in the exported PDFs via PDF Maker.
Thank you for raising these accessibility issues. The post mentions about the following six bugs being introduced with the update that went live on September 14, 2021:
1: Alt-Text for images from MS Word is not converting into the PDF. Instead, it is dropped and gibberish code is inserted.
2: Every cell border on every table cell is being tagged as P tag with PathPathPathPath
3: The underline on Hyperlinks should be tagged as artifacts
4: Borders and background shadings on Text Boxes are being tagged as a combination of Figure tags and PathPathPath
5: Paragraph borders and shadings: same deal as #4 above.Per the PDF/UA-1 standard, they are visually decorative and should be artifacted
6: Dragging and dropping elements in both the Tag and Order panels is now broken
Would like to mention that out of these, #1 and #6 were introduced with the Sep 14 update and remaining (#2, #3, #4 & #5) were present even in the Acrobat version prior to Sep 14 update. We are also very sorry for the inconvenience caused by these issues.
Issue #1 and #6 being new issues with Sep 14 update were fixed on priority and another update on Sep 29th (Release Notes for September 29, 2021: https://www.adobe.com/devnet-docs/acrobatetk/tools/ReleaseNotesDC/continuous/dccontinuoussept2021qfe.html#dccontinuoussepttwentytwentyoneqfe ) carried the fixes for both of them. You can click Help → Check for Updates… to get the latest version of Acrobat containing these fixes.
The remaining issues have been added to our product backlog and will be prioritized to be fixed in coming releases.
Thanks & Regards
David Burnham commented
I installed the 20099 update. Now the save aa a pdf is not working in addition to links not working.
The Sep 29th update didn't fix issue #1 when installed. Are there others for whom the update did not work?
Like others have commented: The issue with the alt-text is not that the alt-text do not covert to the pdf, but that images tagged as decorative get a gibberish alt-text. This makes is impossible to create a accessible Word-template.
HERE'S ANOTHER BUG:
Hyperlinks from latest Word 365 + latest PDF Maker don't work.
David Burnham commented
Tanvi - Adobe is not making their customers happy. This is urgent.
You have built up reliance on these tools to make accessible PDFs that are mandated and treated as compliance in many countries.
Laura Hopkins commented
We are unable to tread water, waiting for these issues that were rolled out to be remediated. We are unable to make any accessible PDF forms. Please advise the ETA.
Liv Detrick commented
Please fix this bug so that we can create accessible PDF documents.
Ilana Gordon commented
Please fix all bugs related to the September update of Acrobat DC. It's astounding that version was released without proper testing and has negatively affected the ability to provide accessible information.
Please fix the tables issue ASAP. Please bring back the previous version while you are correcting the September 14 version.
Please fix the tables issue ASAP.
This worked, thank you! Still having all of the other issues mentioned here, but you have fixed my header and TOC issue and are my favorite person right now! TYSVM!
Michele Christian commented
let me know if this fix helps your H2 to images problem:
To fix, in Word, go to the first heading level where the problem occurs (in this example it would be “2.1.1”), highlight the number with the cursor, and hit Ctrl + space bar.
This action should fix all heading level threes (or any other heading levels that exhibit this error). This fix needs to be done only once, but the TOC must be regenerated (the image errors carry over from the headings to the TOC).
UPDATE: H2 and TOC image issue resolved. All other issues remain.
In addition to the issues already mentioned, level 2 headings and their associated TOC items on larger documents exported from Word are incorrectly tagged as images. I cannot attach a sample as the documents I work on a proprietary.
All of these are MAJOR issues as making these documents accessible is required by law. I have installed the most recent update and still have all of the issues mentioned here.
I echo the others, PLEASE fix these issues, they are barriers for many people with disabilities and clients will get human rights complaints against them, as well as lawsuits, if they can't remediate their own PDFs, because of the software problem.
Karen McCall commented
PLEASE fix the PathPath issues with table gridlines, bordered paragraphs, hyperlink underline and other things that normally would be artifacts but are now in the tags tree inappropriately! I tried artifacting what should be an artifact yesterday and couldn't do it in Acrobat! I'm also seeing Path stuck onto text. For example "PathIntroductionPathPath" and can't artifact the Path in the Content Panel. It says it is artifacted but is till in the tags tree. This is adding hours of additional work that is not necessary and is a barrier to those of us who have to produce legislatively conforming PdF documents! I vote to fix this as soon as possible!!!!!! Artifacts should not be in the tags tree!
Lori Schulze commented
Please address the issues immediately. This negatively impacts businesses, organizations, and state governments. But most importantly, it impacts the user experience for users of assistive technology.
Adjusting previous post. Regular graphics in Word with Alt-text are exporting correctly to PDF with their Alt-text in tact.
It's when graphics in Word are marked as decorative / artifact that is still creating an error in the PDF. They are being tagged as <P>image content (which is incorrect) and have the code gibberish for Alt-text.
End result for screen reader users:
They just hear the code gibberish be voiced, but with hearing that it's an image. And it's code gibberish.
These are supposed to be artifacted and completely hidden from users, not producing gibberish.
UPDATE on Sept 29, 2021
Acrobat 2021.007.20095 (and PDF Producer Library 21.7.127) were updated today.
The "fix" is just as bad as their original bug!
Before, our alt-text was lost when the PDF was exported from Word and replace with nonsense code.
With this so-called "fix", we now get ... N O T H I N G.
No Alt-text at all.
And the table headers and rows are still producing PathPathPathPathPathPath rather than artifacting that stuff.
What is wrong at Adobe?
Do they really want us all to leave them and go to Foxit's PDF software instead?
Larry Hudson commented
I work for an accessible communications agency that creates dozens of accessible PDFs every week using the PDF maker addon for Word. We need this fixed urgently.
Any update on the fixes? I was told that there was a hot-fix in development.
ADDITIONAL RELATED ERROR:
Graphics in Word marked as "decorative" (which should become artifacted in the PDF) have code gibberish Alt-text in the PDF.
#1: If a graphic is artifacted, it shouldn't have any Alt-Text at all.
#2: The gibberish Alt-text is being voiced by screen readers.