Reading order for accessible PDFs using InDesign CS5.5


InDesign CS5.5 has several features that make it easier for you to create accessible content. I’ve already posted about some under the hood enhancements. But there are more.

So, is there a way to easily specify the reading order in InDesign CS5.5? Articles might be the answer you’re looking for. See an earlier post about Articles.

Test Drive

In 1961, the IBM 704 became the first computer to sing, singing the song Daisy Bell. Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. This performance was the inspiration for the famous scene in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the HAL 9000 computer sings the song as it is deactivated. If you’re interested in more trivia, see Wikipedia article.

So, I thought it’s only fair that I use “Daisy Bell and her bicycle-built-for-two”  to demonstrate the Reading Order. I created a one page PDF document, set up articles, and exported as a tagged PDF. This PDF was created using InDesign CS5.5 and has not been post-processed or retouched.

Right-click and Save As to download the PDF

Right-click and Save As to download the PDF

  1. Download the PDF file and open it in Acrobat or Adobe Reader.
  2. Choose View > Read Out Loud > Activate Read Out Loud.
  3. Choose View > Read Out Loud > Read this Page.
  4. Compare the reading order with the Article structure in the figure below.

    Articles panel and options

    Articles panel and options

Try reading the PDF with Acrobat,  the free Adobe Reader, or other screen reader software that you use. See Acrobat help for more information on Read out Loud.

Let me know how it works.

Bookmark and Share

, , , ,

  1. #1 by Terry O'Connor on September 27, 2011 - 12:48 am

    I would like to make a Read Out Loud pdf from InDesign cs5.
    My problem is the pdf I’m using has coloums of type and the read out loud feature only seems to read from left to right across the page.
    Is it possible to put in bookmarks to specific headings within the article so as I can take the reader to that part of the article without having to read the whole document?

    Kind regards
    Terry

(will not be published)


three + 5 =