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Creating Accessible PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Professional

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Making Tables of Contents Accessible

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Applying the TOC Structure

Creating a table of content structure is very similar to creating a list structure. For the purposes of this tutorial, focus will be on creating a linked tabled of contents. Below are the steps to create a TOC structure in the Tags pane.

  1. If there is a heading, such as Table of Contents above the TOC items, select it in the main document.
    • In the Tags pane, activate the Context menu of any tag and select Find Tag from Selection.
    • The heading may be contained within part of the TOC structure. If it is, it needs to be moved above the parent <TOC> tag and defined as a heading.
      Moving the TOCI tag containing the words Table of Contents above the TOC tag
      Change the <TOCI> tag to a heading by activating the Context menu of the tag and navigating to Properties. In the Type combo box on the Tag tab, select an appropriate heading level and then close the dialog.
  2. If there is no heading above the content items, select the first list item that is part of the TOC in the main document.
  3. In the Tags pane, activate the Context menu of any tag and select Find Tag from Selection.
    Locate the highlighted tag in the Tags pane and identify whether the content is already encased in a TOC structure by locating a <TOC> tag with <TOCI> tags nested below it.

    If a TOC structure is found, it will likely need some remediation efforts. For example, one possible structure found after conversion from an authoring tool presents a <TOC> tag with a nested <TOCI> tag, a further nested <Reference> tag, the item content, leader and page number contained as one item under the <Reference> tag, and finally a Link-OBJR tag as a sibling tag to the item content tag.
    TOC structure as it may look before any remediation
  4. To remediate the structure for the first item in the TOC that already has a <TOCI> tag, ensure a <Reference> and <Link> tag are both present as children tags under the <TOCI> tag.
  5. If either or both the <Reference> or <Link> tags do not exist, activate the Context menu of one of the tags nested beneath the <TOCI> tag (such as the content item tag) and select New Tag…
  6. In the New Tag dialog, select Reference or Link from the Type combo box.
  7. Navigate to and activate the OK button.
  8. Repeat the above steps to add another tag if necessary.
  9. Verify all the pieces are available to start organizing the structure of a content item. A TOC, TOCI, Reference, Link, content item, and Link-OBJR tags need to be present,
  10. If necessary, highlight the <TOCI> and drag it to become a child of the <TOC> tag. An arrow pointing right with a horizontal line to the right side should appear to help identify at which level the tag is being placed.
    Arrow showing the TOCI tag will be moved as a direct child of the TOC tag
  11. If necessary, highlight the <Reference> tag and drag it to become a child of the <TOCI> tag.
  12. If necessary, highlight the <Link> tag and drag it to become a child of the <Reference> tag.
  13. If necessary, highlight and drag the content item, leader and page number tag(s) to be children of the <Link> tag.
    • If the content item, leader and page number are grouped as one tag, they need to be separated. To separate the pieces into three separate tags, select the content item in the main document.
    • Find the tag containing the content item in the Tags tree and activate the Context menu of the tag.
      Select Create Tag from Selection on the Context menu.
      Content item selected in the main document and Create tag from selection highlighted on the context menu of the tag containing the content item
    • Verify the content item is contained in an individual tag.
    • It is likely easier to select the page number than the leader. Therefore, the next step is to select the page number in the main document.
    • The page number may not be visible as part of the tag in the tag structure, but find the tag near the content item that was just separated that contains the leader and activate the Context menu of the tag. Select Create Tag from Selection on the Context menu.
    • Verify the page number is now contained by itself in a tag. The leader should now also be the only thing in its tag.
    • Arrange the tags in the following order: content item, leader and then page number as children tags under the <Link> tag. This sequence will ensure the content is in the proper reading order.
  14. Ensure that the content item, leader and page number are above and a sibling to the Link-OBJR tag.
    The final structure of the TOCI item should be TOC, TOCI nested one level, Reference nested under TOCI, Link nested under Reference, and the content item, leader, page number, and Link-OBJR nested under the Link tag.
    Final TOC structure, showing the heading Table pf Contents above the TOC structure tags
  15. Repeat the steps above to structure the other TOCIs.
  16. Verify that all the <TOCI> tags are at the same level (siblings) in the tag structure.

    To properly structure a non-linked table of contents <Reference>, <Link> and Link-OBJR tags need to be omitted from the tag structure. The structure needs to be <TOC>, nested <TOCI> and beneath the <TOCI> nest the contents item, leader, and page number as individual tags.
    Example of a non-linked table of contents structure
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