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Alt Text resources


Inclusivity, Gestalt Principles, and Plain Language in Document Design



  • Use paragraph styles through entire document
  • Create export tags for paragraph, heading levels, p, artifact etc.
  • Anchor images within content flow
  • Add alternative text for images
  • Include internal document navigation (table of contents, bookmarks, etc.)
  • Establish content order
  • Give document a title and description
  • Optimized accessibility export PDF settings

InDesign CS6 Accessible Document Procedure

Use either Structure Panel or the Articles Panel to add accessibility because you can't use both

Tags > Style Export Tagging

  • Use Paragraph Styles to give structure to document (example: Heading, Section Hdrs)
  • Go to Paragraph Styles Menu
    • Edit all export tags
    • Just need to choose tags for Headers and Artifacts, everything else is assigned “P” tag
    • Tables, and table headers, lists, footnotes and hyperlinks are tagged automatically in InDesign
  • Template Headers and Footers (page numbers) will not get tagged
  • Create tagged hyperlinks (Type > Hyperlinks & Cross Reference > New)

Object Anchoring

  • Select image
    • Select blue node on box and drag to insertion point in article
  • View > extras > show text threads to see where it’s anchored

Alt Text > Object Export Option

  • Object > Object Export Option
    • Alt Text tab
      • Custom to enter any text
  • Tagged PDF (Structure is from XML structure)
    • Apply Tag > Based on Object
    • Assign backgrounds/unimportant art as Artifact
    • Actual Text Source > Alt tag description

Table header row

  • Use type tool to select table
  • Hoover curser over left edge of row to make a header
  • Go to Table Menu > Convert Row > To Header
  • Row headers cannot be defined in InDesign

Window > Articles Panel (Used to create Tag Order) If item is not in articles panel it will not get tagged.

  1. Click on objects on page, drag into panel
  2. Name article (cover page)
  3. Go to next page
    1. Select items on page by shift-clicking in order of reading, or click hold and re-arrange items in proper order
    2. If using layers panel – group names will be reflected in articles
  4. Go up to Articles panel menu and select: Use for reading order in tagged PDF.

Layers Panel (Used to create Reading Order)

  • Bottom up (put background images and artifacts on bottom then put first item to be read (example: document title) and so on. Last item to be read will be at the top of the list.

Exporting and Finalizing PDF

Add Bookmarks (to build navigation scheme for PDF)

  • Window > Interactive > Bookmarks
  • Adding these bookmarks will transfer to PDF when exported
  • Hyperlinks and cross reference: Window > Interactive > Hyperlink

Add Meta data

  • File > File Info
    • Document Title, Author, Description, Keywords (all these help with SEO)

Export to PDF

  • File > Export > Interactive
    • Check “Create Tagged PDF
    • Check “Include All” next to Forms and  Media ( for bookmarks and hyperlinks to work)


  • File > Properties > Advance to select English
  • Window options: Show > Document title
  • Description tab: remove the “;” from the field
  • Set Tab Order
    • Select all Thumbnails > Options Menu > Page Properties > Use Document Structure