Troubleshooting PDF tags

This guide covers scenerios that we have seen multiple occurance of. If you've run into a problem and found a solution for it, or if you have run into a problem and cannot find a solution feel free to email the details to us at

Creating a Table Manually

Some tables are not going to be recognized by the Table tag set with the Reading Order panel. Adobe struggles to tag tables that don’t have borders around all the cells; it relies on line structure to identify tables and the cells within.

If you have tables that have a more complex design/layout and the correct tags are not being set, you will need to manually create your table structure.

Depending on how many tags are incorrect, you may have to delete the existing tags and Delete the item structure and start from scratch.

If you have a number of tags that are correct, you may be able to just manually tag the areas that are not quite right.

To manually tag a table:

  1. Tag each element that would be an individual cell as a paragraph
  2. Once this is done, go to the Tags pane, right click to make a New Tag and select Table.
  3. Right click again, make a New Tag and select Table Row
  4. Repeat for the number of rows in your table
  5. Nest all the < TR > tags under the Table tag
  6. Find the elements that you tagged as paragraphs
  7. Identify which ones are supposed to be table headers < TH >
  8. Hold down shift and click on each table header, right click and select Properties
  9. In properties, change the tag type to Table Header Cell
  10. Drag each TH cell under the proper < TR > tag
  11. Select all remaining paragraphs for your table, go to Properties and change them to Table Data Cell
  12. Drag all the TD cells under the correct rows—make sure they are in the same order as they are in the table

Separated links

When links get split into two different text tags, the link will not work.

  1. Go into the Content panel and locate each container housing a piece of the link
  2. Open up both containers down to the Text container that will display each individual letter, character, space etc. that make up the text in the Text container.
  3. Select the part of the link text separated from the rest of the link and drag it to the proper place in the Text container to complete the link

Missing OBJR tags

IF a Link was not formatted properly when it is exported to a PDF the OBJR tag may not get created. Too add an OBJR tag:

  1. Open then Tags panel, right click on any tag and select Find...
  2. In the Find popup, change the selection to Unmarked Links
  3. For each link located, Tag the Element
  4. Once all your OBJR tags are there, move them into their respective Link tags
If the Find method fails to detect an unmarked Link, you need to create your own.
  • 1. Open the Tags panel
  • Right click on your Link tag that is missing the OBJR
  • Select "New Tag" and type in Link - OBJR
  • Nest the link text in this OBJR tag and nest the OBJR tag in the Link tag
  • Elements that won't tag

    Sometimes you will run into certain content that just won't tag. There are a few things that can cause this in the Content panel such as elements being nested several levels deep in several different tags, the element has been marked an artifact, the element is surrounded by artifact tags and Acrobat thinks it is also an artifact.

    Nested tags

    1. Locate the element in the Content panel
    2. Open all the container tags until you get down to the Text container
    3. Drag the Text container out of all the nested tags
    4. Delete the nested tags & container that houses them
    5. Go back to the Reading Order panel and tag the element

    Elements in Artifact Containers

    1. Locate the element in the Content panel
    2. If it is an an artifact container, right click on the container and select Remove Artifact
    3. Return to the Reading Order Panel and tag the element

    Sometimes if an element is surrounded by Artifact containers it won't tag. It seems like it is a bug with Acrobat. If you run into this, right click on the Artifact containers surrounding the element and Remove Artifact. If the element is in a container, open it and drag the Text container out and remove the empty container. Return to the Reading order panel and tag the element, then you can re-tag all of the artifacts.

    Note: a good rule of thumb with Artifacts is to tag them after all your readable elements have been tagged; this ensures that none of your content will be mistaken for an artifact