Bug - PDF Tag Panel does not match Reading Order Tool by marking all Tags as Span ISSUE FOR NEWEST UPDATE
I am experiencing a similar issue that was written in this bug report "Bug - PDF Tag Panel does not match Reading Order Tool by marking all Tags as Span". It appears that others have encountered this issue as well, but since the form was posted in 2019, I want to ensure it hasn't already been marked as resolved. Here is a link to this post (https://acrobat.uservoice.com/forums/590923-acrobat-for-windows-and-mac/suggestions/37571164-bug-pdf-tag-panel-does-not-match-reading-order-t)
My situation is similar to the original post, but I am facing an issue with converting a Microsoft Word document to a PDF. Although the document appears correctly, the reading order(viewer panel) is incorrect. To replicate the issue, I saved the document as a PDF in Microsoft Word and opened it in Adobe to run an accessibility check. While Adobe recognizes the original tags created in the Word document in the Tags panel of the accessibility tool and the bookmarks appear to have the correct structure, the order viewer panel displays everything as a large mass of span and does not reflect the proper tag structure from the tag panel. I am using a Mac for this entire process.
Please refrain from mentioning any inability to perform this task on a Mac. I have not encountered any issues with this task prior to the update. The issue is more likely to be a problem where the Adobe Acrobat is not coded correctly or is failing to make sure that Tag panel information is reflected in the viewer panel(Reading order) correctly.
Here is what the original post said about the issue:
This issue of InDesign and Acrobat incompatibility in regards to Acrobat displaying all spans even when the Reading Order is correct has been around for over two years. We deserve to know what Adobe is doing about it.
Acrobat Team acknowledges the problem and blames InDesign:
"It's actually not an Acrobat issue, it's an issue with InDesign and how it's generating the Content that Acrobat is displaying correctly"
InDesign Team acknowledges the problem and blames Acrobat:
"You'd have to talk to the Acrobat team about why they display in the Tags panel the way they do." - Adobe
"Our investigation suggests that the issue lies in the latest update of Acrobat and there is little that can be done at our end to resolve the issue.
The problem has been communicated to the relevant team.
In the meanwhile we are closing this thread for InDesign."
And closes the issue.
What is Adobe doing to fix this issue? And don’t tell us that it is not a real problem for screen readers because the Tags panel is ok. When a certain government agency reviews files, they just use the Reading Order Tool when they make complaints against people who use your product. These are not the kind of people who will read all these posts of Adobe blaming each other and then saying it does not matter because some screen readers don't use the reading order. Adobe is basically saying that this feature is pointless. If it is pointless remove it or merge it fully with the Tags panel.
Besides, there is a lot more assistive technology and applications than just JAWS and NVDA that depend on the reading order and reflow being correct.
What is Adobe doing to fix this span issue?
And don’t ask me for more info or more files. You have these posts with detailed explanations and you have already acknowledged the problem exists yourselves and acknowledged that you can reproduce it yourselves. And don’t tell us to go to Forums for help. Because they will send us back to UserVoice.
Bevi Chagnon | PubCom.com commented
Stormfly's manual fix isn't valid for many file.
The <Span> tag is a valid tag and contains critical information for accessibility — when it's used correctly, such as for language attributes.
This must be corrected by Adobe's export utilities, namely PDF Maker in this case.
Bevi Chagnon | PubCom.com commented
The <Span> tags surrounding everything in the Order Panel is an old bug that was eventually corrected in recent versions of PDF Maker (for MS Office) and InDesign's export/interactive utility.
BUT IT'S BACK!
The recent 2023.003.xxxxx update has again broken the export of accessible PDFs.
2 issues, as mentioned above by Stormfly:
<Span> tags in the entire Order panel, which eliminate the real tags that are needed for various assistive technologies, such as <Hx> headings, <P> body text, <L>/<LI> lists, etc.
Although the PDF/UA-1 standard requires that all accessibility be in the tags, in real life, users use a myriad of different technologies to assist their use of computers and digital media. Accessibility is not just for those who are blind and can afford a copy of a particular screen reader.
One well-used free tool is Read Out Loud, the text-to-speech utility built into Acrobat itself. It uses the ORDER panel to voice the information.
We can't tell people to stop using these tools. Government agencies are mandated by law to ensure their material is available to all citizens — regardless of whether or not citizens have the "correct" assistive technology. So they've learned that the Order panel must be in good shape, as well as the Tags tree.
The recent 2023.003.xxxxx update has killed the ability to export a PDF from MS Office on the Mac. The control settings are gone, and the end result is a mess of inaccessible, mis-tagged content.
From this post in the community forums [ https://community.adobe.com/t5/acrobat-discussions/converting-word-doc-to-pdf-has-issues-structure-tags-are-not-being-converted/m-p/14065858 ] the resulting PDF shows the Producer as Acrobat PDFMaker 15 for Word — an ancient and buggy version of the utility that converts Word to PDF.
What happened to Adobe PDF Library 23?
Hey there! After doing some research and testing, I found out something that might be helpful. It seems like there's should be a simple fix for the issue - all you need is access to the code and locate the section where the code decides how the PDF is tagged for content. It looks like the program is failing to figure out what tags need to be placed, which causes the the user to see everything as "span" when on the viewer panel while the tags panel remains correct. It's possible that the programmer overlooked this and left the code to automatically assign the content label as "span" to make sure that the code worked for that part. This is all my guess based off the manual fix I found.
Small observation I noticed with the content tag is that if its not a tag that divides into more tags it appears that the tag and content are labeled the same but if it divides further down then it doesn't do this (ex:Lists, Tables, and more)
To manually fix the issue (keep in mind that it is a lot of work), go to the Tag panel for the document and remove any <span> tags found. However, this is not the main issue causing the span to be displayed on the order panel. Once you have fixed that issue, we can focus on the main problem. For every tag, you will need to right-click, select "Properties," and a popup screen will appear. In this popup, you should see an option for "Content" at the top. Click on it, and in the option below, you will see a "span" in the Container tag. Change the container tag to reflect the tag that it needs to be for the document. After making this change, it should display correctly in your viewer panel. This is a really annoying manual fix, but it is the source of the issue. I hope this manual fix helps until Adobe can fix the code for the application.