The Operations Tab

On this page:  Tags Root I Tags Inside the Root Tag I Additional Operations

The Operations Tab in the Ribbon offers the CommonLook user a wide variety of options for tag creation, editing, and more.  In addition, these operations are available when right clicking (or otherwise opening the context menu) on a particular tag.

From the Tags Root

The list of operations below are available when selecting the Tags tag, also known as the Tags Root.  Most of these operations are also available when other tags are selected.  The operations that are not available with other tags will be noted in the description.  In addition, selecting other tags will make available other operations and these will be discussed later.

  1. Create Document Tag – (only available when selecting the Tags Root) – Creates a Document tag at the top of the tree, immediately underneath the Tags tag, and moves all other tags inside the Document tag.  PDF/UA mandates that the Tag Tree be structured this way because it conveys that the content that follows is one logical document.
  2. Untag – Places the selected content in an artifact container.  (From the Tags Root, Untag will place all of the content in the entire document into Artifact containers on a per page basis.)
  3. Expand All – opens the selected tag(s) all the way to their furthest most “leaf” (text run level, etc.)
  4. Collapse All – closes the selected tag(s).
  5. Paste – From the tags root, the only option is to paste and the pasted tag is placed as the last tag in the Tags tree. When other tags besides the Tags root are selected, then Paste has two options.  These are discussed below.
  6. Flatten Tags – Removes all Part, Section, Article, Div., etc. tags from the document to reduce unnecessary nesting.
  7. Artifact all images – Selects all of the images in the document and untags them.  This can be very useful if, for example, the document is full of tables.  Because all of the lines in a table are seen as images, this quickly and easily removes all of the lines so that they will not be read by screen readers (and so that they are not seen as <Figures> require Alt. Text.
  8. Remove Role maps – This option changes all custom tags to their standard tag mapped equivalent and then removes the custom tags.
  9. Create tag as child – Places an empty <P> tag in the tree as a child (subordinate) to the selected tag.
  10. Full clean-up – removes all empty tags, containers, etc. (including empty table cells) from the entire document.
  11. Skip empty cells – Removes all empty tags, containers, etc. exceptempty table cells.  (Helpful for removing empty tags in a document but keeping empty table cells for placeholders.)

Operations for Tags Inside the Tags Root

Other tags (that are not the Tags Root) also have the following operations available either in the Operations Tab or by right clicking on the tag itself:

    1. Merge Tags – Advanced Version Only– This feature can be used to easily combine the content in multiple tags into one tag.
    2. Copy – May be used to copy empty structure.  This could be very helpful (when using the Standard Version) in building multiple similarly constructed tables.  One empty table can be created, copied, and then pasted into the tag tree.  (This is not a necessary method when using the Advanced Version of CommonLook GlobalAccess with which a user may simply highlight the table in the Physical View and choose to generate the table from selection.)
    3. Cut – A tag, text, etc., may be selected in the Tags Tree, cut from its current position, and then pasted elsewhere in the reading order.  Note:  Pasting content into the Tags root was mentioned in the previous section, list item number 5. Options to paste into other locations are addressed in numbers 7 and 8 of this list.   
    4. Level Up – Pushes the selected element (tag, text element, etc.) out of the tag that it is currently placed in. Note:  Level up will not push a tag out of (so that it’s a sibling to) the Tags root.
    5. Level Up Children of Tag – Pushes the content inside the selected tag out of the parent tag. Note:  Elements that, according to PDF specifications should be in a tag (text elements, paths, annotations, etc.) cannot be leveled up out of all tags (so that they end up being siblings to the Tags root).
    6. Tag similar – Heading Tags only – Advanced Version Only– Finds content with similar attributes (font, etc.) and tags it all similarly.  Ideal for quickly tagging all text with the similar appearance as the same Heading Level.
    7. Paste as sibling – pasted tag is inserted immediately after the selected tag
    8. Paste as child – pasted tag is inserted as the last child of the selected tag.
    9. Create tag as parent – Creates a Paragraph tag in the tree and puts the selected tag intothe new <P> tag.
    10. Create tag before as sibling – Creates a Paragraph tag underneath the selected tag in the tag tree at the same level (not as a parent or child)
    11. Create tag after as sibling –
    12. To Actual Text – Copies the text in the tag and pastes it in the actual text of that tag’s properties. This can be helpful, for example, when fixing poor OCR jobs.
    13. To Alt Text – Copies the text in the tag and pastes it in the alt text of that tag’s properties.

Additional Operations

In addition to the operations listed available for the Tags Root and generic operations available for all tags, there are certain operations that are tag specific and are only available when a particular tag is selected.  Those operations are explained in this section.

Text Runs

When a text run is selected, the following options are also available:

  1. Create Tag – Places the selected text run in a Paragraph tag.
  2. Split Text – Allows the user to split the text run. Split a text run if part of the text in a longer text run needs to be isolated, for example to change the natural language of a word or phrase.  Choose “Split Text,” place the cursor in the text run where you want to make the split, and then press the Space Bar on your keyboard.
  3. Mark Font as All Caps – Occasionally, a word may be in mixed capital and lower-case letters which could prevent the text from being read correctly by a screen reader.  Marking the font as all caps places the text in a <Span> tag and gives it alternative text in all capital letters so that it will be correctly read.

Table Tags

  1. Calculate bounding box – (option available on Figure, Formula, Link, Reference, Note, and Table tags) – Required for PDF/UA conformance, the previously mentioned tags need to have their bounding boxes calculated to know where on the page the tag is positioned.  This operation accomplishes that task instantly.
  2. Insert row – Places a new <TR> inside the table
  3. Insert caption – Places an empty <Caption> tag inside the table before the first <TR>.  The caption text can then be selected in the Physical View and moved inside the <Caption> tag.
  4. Show table editor – Opens the table remediating panel.  (Only clickable when a <Table> tag is selected.)
  5. Clean Table – Executes a “full clean-up” to only the selected table (removing all empty tags including data and header cells).
  6. Horizontally – One of the “Linearize Table” options for presentation tables. Converts the cells to <P> tags across the table from top to bottom and left to right, row by row.
    Tip:  When choosing to linearize a table, first open the table editor to view the organization of the table and to decide whether to linearize horizontally or vertically.  After the table cells have been converted to <P> tags, select <P> tags and merge them as needed so that complete paragraphs of text are tagged all together.
  7. Vertically – Advanced Version Only– One of the “Linearize Table” options for presentation tables.  Converts the cells to <P> tags column by column across the table from left to right.
  8. One level – Automatically links data cells in the table to their most immediate header cells (column and/or row) based on scope and span. creates linked headers for complex tables with multiple rows/columns of headers and/or cells that span multiple columns and/or rows.  Note:  When linked headers are automatically generated, the data cells are linked to their most immediate header cells (column and/or row) based on scope.  Then, if there are multiple rows/columns of headers, the “inner most header” will be linked to the next header moving out towards the edge of the table.   Depending on the complexity of the table, manual linking may be required.
  9. Recursive – Automatically links data cells in the table to their immediate header cells (column and/or row) which are then “recursively” (subsequently) linked to their header cells and so on. This can be particularly helpful for tables with multiple rows of column headers and/or multiple columns of row headers.

Table Row Tags

  1. Insert Row Before – Adds an additional table row (with data cells) into the Table tag before the selected TR tag.
  2. Insert Row After – Adds an additional table row (with data cells) into the Table tag after the selected TR tag.

Table Header (TH) and/or Table Data (TD) Tags

  1. Insert Cells – Select this and then, in the dialog box, choose to insert cell(s) before or after the cell that you originally selected.
  2. Split to Rows – Selecting a cell and then choosing “Split to rows” will put the text in the cell into separate table rows (one row per line of text in the physical view).


  1. Insert LI – Places a new <LI> tag inside the selected <List>.

LI (List Item) Tags

  1. Insert List – Creates a new <L> tag and places it inside the <LBody> tag that is in the selected <LI>.  This is the correct way to structure a nested list.
  2. Insert Lbody – Places an empty <LBody> inside the <LI>.  Text for the list can then be selected and moved into the new <LBody>.
  3. Insert Lbl – Places an empty <Lbl> inside the <LI>.  Text for the list can then be selected and moved into the new <Lbl>.

TOC (Table of Contents) Tags

  1. Artifact Leaders – This option will untag all of the leaders (for example, the dot leaders) in the TOC and place them in Artifact containers so that they are not read by screen readers.
  2. Insert TOCI (Table of Content Item) – Places an empty <TOCI> tag at the bottom of the TOC tree.

TOCI (Table of Contents Item) Tags

  1. Insert Reference – To contain the text of the Table of Contents and Links/link annotations.
  2. Insert Lbl – If there are section numbers in the Table of Contents, then those section numbers should be placed inside <Lbl> tags within the <TOCI>.
  3. Insert Nonstruct – This is a tag that tells screen readers that the contents of the tag should not be processed by assistive technology.  For example, all of the dot leaders should be placed in a <Nonstruct> tags.  Caution:  Most screen readers available today will actually read the dot leaders even if they are in <Nonstruct> tags.  For this reason, it may be best to simply place the dot leaders in Artifact Containers.
  4. Insert Paragraph – To contain the text of the Table of Contents when links are not used.
  5. Insert TOC – To create a nested Table of Contents.  The inserted <TOC> is placed inside the selected <TOCI>.


Next Pages

Follow the links below to view other pages in the software manual:

Page 1- Welcome, Getting Started

Page 2 – The Toolbar and Ribbon

Page 3 – File, Insert Tag and Convert Tag Tabs

Page 4 – The Settings Tab

Page 5 – The Windows Tab

Page 6 – The Operations Tab

Page 7 – The Tag Properties Panel

Page 8 – The Integrity Validator

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