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Welcome to the April issue of the CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter!

Expand your “Accessibility Tips and Tricks” toolkit this month: read on to find out how CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess makes a finicky issue in Microsoft PowerPoint documents containing tables much easier.

And big accessibility news from Canada – the country is moving toward a Canadians with Disabilities Act, similar to the ADA in the US! Read on to learn more.

Finally, last month’s 31st annual CSUN conference in San Diego put the spotlight on accessibility for thousands of attendees. If you didn’t have a chance to attend and visit with CommonLook, you can still receive a free accessibility consultation for your organization – simply reply to this email.

As always, we welcome your suggestions for upcoming topics and would like to know what you think of NetCentric’s CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter.

Use this link to share your comments or story ideas with the CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter staff.

We Hope You Enjoy!

The CommonLook Accessibility Newsletter Team

Canada is Moving Towards A Canadians With Disabilities Act

One of the issues raised by people with disabilities before and during the Canadian Federal election of 2015 was the need for an overarching Canadians with Disabilities Act.  People with disabilities are protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (federal law) and provincial Human Rights Codes; however, there isn’t a Canadians with Disabilities Act that encompasses the nation as there is in the United States with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This means that the implementation of the inherent rights of Canadians with disabilities can be interpreted differently in each province. To date, the province of Ontario has an Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) which includes the Customer Service Standards and the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations (IASR) covering Information Communication, Employment, Transportation, Open Spaces and some of the Built Environment. The province of Manitoba recently passed the Accessibility for Manitobans Act and the provinces of British Columbia and Nova Scotia are actively exploring individual accessibility legislation for their provinces.

It is easy to see how standards of accessibility may vary from province to province with this approach to inclusion.

Upon winning the election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, a person with a disability, as the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities.  She is not the only person with a disability who is a member of the new Cabinet.

With the release of the first budget for the newly elected parliament came a financial commitment of $2 million dollars to form a consultative committee to determine what the Canadians with Disabilities Act will look like.

“The budget earmarked $2 million over two years for engagement that will result in the introduction of a Canadians with Disabilities Act.”



ComonLook GlobalAccess Removes Span Tags In PowerPoint

st month we looked at a bug in Microsoft Word that puts Span tags in tables representing parts of the table gridlines. Without the assistance of CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess, this manual repair will take a lot of time.

There is a similar bug in PowerPoint that creates Span tags for parts of the background of slides when a PowerPoint document is converted to tagged PDF.

Once again, CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess comes to the rescue!

The problem: Although some of the background of slides will be Artifacts when the presentation is converted to tagged PDF, parts of the slide background will be tagged using the Span tag with the PathPath identifier which is for Figures.

Fortunately, the same slide background pieces on each slide are consistently tagged using the Span Tag.

The solution: Make sure that all images that require Alt text in the PowerPoint document have Alt Text. Use the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint to confirm this. Once the PowerPoint document has been converted to tagged PDF and opens in Adobe Acrobat, launch CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess.

In the Standards Pane to the right of the document, expand the Accessibility Standards.

Under the Accessibility Standards, choose PDF/UA.

Choose to create a “Full” accessibility report.

When the report items open in the Pane at the bottom of the document, locate the “Failed” item “Semantically appropriate nesting.” There will be a lot of this issue because it appears on each slide converted to tagged PDF.

Right click on the first “Failed” instance of this issue. Choose “Fix” from the context menu.

A dialog opens stating that “A tag of type Span shouldn’t be nested under Slide.”

Click the drop down list and choose “Untag selected element.”

Check the checkbox to “Apply this fix to all similar issues.”

Click “Finish.”

All of the parts of the background that have been tagged using the Span tag are now Artifacts and part of the background.

Wonder, who has been blind since shortly after birth, has long been known for his advocacy of disability rights, particularly for those of visually impaired people. While he may not have taken home a GRAMMY to add to his collection that evening, Wonder’s championing of accessibility rights for all makes him the real winner in our eyes.



CommonLook Attends 31st Annual CSUN Conference, San Diego

Last week marked the happening of the 31st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego, California, the world’s longest-running and largest conference of its kind on the topic of assistive technology and the positive impact on persons with disabilities. CommonLook attended the conference along with thousands of others, exhibiting its suite of accessibility solutions. If you were unable to attend this year’s conference, contact us now for a free accessibility consultation for your organization. Email


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