Before We Begin:

This guide is designed to take the new CommonLook PDF user step by step through the process of remediating and validating the accompanying PDF document.  If needed, download the accompanying PDF here.  Although the document is relatively simple, by taking the concepts and applying them to other documents, the intent is that you’re able to get a good start at remediating your own files.

Please note that this Quick Start Guide assumes the “Advanced” version of CommonLook PDF is installed and activated on your machine.  If not, please contact us to obtain the software and/or follow the installation and registration process.  For help with installation and/or registration contact

In addition, a typical workflow for PDF remediation may include running OCR (Optical Character Recognition – for scanned documents), adding any interactive elements (links, forms, buttons, etc.), and then adding tags to the document prior to fixing it in CommonLook.  These steps aren’t needed in this sample document so we can simply move right into opening CommonLook and getting started.

Should additional help be needed, or more information be desired, please contact us so that we may provide the level of training necessary for your projects and/or your organization.  Contact us at

The Quick Start steps below are specific to the accompanying Quick Start PDF.  Here’s a link to the first page of the User’s Guide online with more general information about using CommonLook PDF.  Important Note:  To thoroughly explain all of the functionality in CommonLook would make this Quick Start Document unreasonably long.  The instructions below provide one way to fix the PDF.  Feel free to explore the software on your own or to inquire about formal training to receive more in-depth instruction.

Opening CommonLook:

  1. Open the PDF document in Adobe Acrobat (Standard or Professional).
  2. In the Acrobat toolbar, choose Plug-Ins, scroll to CommonLook, and select CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess.

Opening CommonLook in Acrobat. Plug-ins to CommonLook to CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess is highlighted.

Important note:  After opening CommonLook for the first time, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Settings tab in the Ribbon,
  2. In the Business Group, select User Preferences,
  3. If not already done, check the box next to “Consider elements containing only empty spaces to be empty:”
  4. Choose “Ok.”

Screenshot highlighting the steps as described in the preceding list. Select Settings then User Preferences and then the checkbox to consider elements containing only spaces to be empty. The OK button is also highlighted.

Tip:  Also in the Business Group is a button to “Reset Panels Location.”  This button is very helpful to move panels back to their default location (including whether or not various panels are open and visible).  It might be worthwhile to get into the habit of opening CommonLook PDF and then immediately choosing this option.  This way, you’ll always know where the various panels are located in the user interface (at least until you get used to things and then decide to configure your panels differently, for example).

The CommonLook Workflow:

The recommended workflow when using CommonLook to remediate PDFs is to first navigate through the Tags making sure that the correct tags are being used for the content and that they’re in the correct reading order and then, second, to run a verification and see if there’s anything you missed.  This workflow, which we’ll follow in this Quick Start Guide, lends itself to a more accurate and efficient process as opposed to (what many people do when using Acrobat) running a full-check, fixing issues, running another check, fixing other issues, etc., until you get a “clean” report.

Fixing the PDF

  1. Navigate to the Tags panel (on the left side of the screen – OR hold down the Control key and press Tab to open the Active Tools Window and then select Tags) and expand the Tags root by double-clicking it, clicking on the caret, or using the Right-arrow on your keyboard.
    The Tags root is highlighted in the Tags panel.

Fix the H1 (for the Title of the document)

  1. Select the first Paragraph tag in the Tags tree.  In the physical view, the first line of the title will be highlighted.  Tip:  Unless you really need to open tags it’s recommended that you don’t open them.  In our teaching experiences we find that the more open people’s tags are, the more confused they get.  If you’re using the physical view for guidance on selecting tags, noticing what each tag contains, etc., then just keep them closed as much as possible.  That said, screen reader users, when you select the first Paragraph tag, you’ll hear something along the lines of “P tag collapsed” – keep in mind that different screen readers may say slightly different things.  Use the right arrow on your keyboard to open it and hear the tag’s contents.
    Screenshot showing the first Paragraph tag selected in the Tags tree and the text highlighted in the physical view.
  2.  Navigate to the second Paragraph tag in the Tags tree.  (Open it only if you need to!)  It contains the text of the second line of the title.  We need both lines of the title to be in one H1 (heading 1) tag.
    1. In the physical view, highlight (draw a box around) both lines of the title of the document.  When you do this it’ll select both text elements inside the Paragraph tags. OR navigate back up to the text inside the first P tag and then, with it selected, hold down the Control key and navigate down to the text element inside the second P tag.  While still holding the Control key press the Spacebar.  This’ll select both text elements inside both P tags.  (Important:  If selecting the text inside the P tags from within the Tags tree, select the text in the first P tag first and then the text in the second P tag!)
      Screenshot showing the first two Paragraph tags selected in the Tags tree and both lines of the title highlighted in the physical view.
    2. Navigate to the Insert tag tab and use the button to put your selected text into an H1 (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+1).
  3. The H1 that you just created will be open – perhaps even the text element will be open to the text run level.  Use the Right-arrow on the keyboard, or double-click, to close it.
  4. The H1 is nested inside one of the P tags that was originally there.  We need to “push” the H1 out of the P tag.  To do that, right-click (or open the context menu) on the H1 and, in the context menu navigate to, and choose, “Level up” (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+P).
    Screenshot showing the new H1 tag nested in a Paragraph tag. The context menu is open and Level Up is highlighted.
  5. When you “Level up” your H1 it’ll get pushed out of the P tag and will become the first tag in the Tags tree.

Clean-up Empty Tags

Next, Clean up the empty P tag that was the second tag in the tree.  To do that:

  1. Right click on the tag (open the context menu),
  2. Navigate to “Clean up,”
  3. Expand the sub-menu and navigate to “Skip empty cells.”  Or, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E.  (Other clean-up options are explained in the more general “Users Guide” pages.)
    The context menu is open on the empty P tag and Clean up and Skip empty cells are both highlighted.

Decorative Images

Next, in the Tags tree, we have a Figure tag that contains the decorative lines going horizontally across the page, right below the title.

Artifact (or untag) these lines by selecting the Figure tag and pressing the Delete key.  Note:  The Delete key in CommonLook doesn’t actually delete content.  Instead, it’s the keyboard shortcut to “artifact” (untag) content so that it won’t be read by a screen reader.
The Figure tag is selected in the Tags tree, the context menu is open, and Untag is highlighted as is the keyboard shortcut of the Delete key.

The (first) Table Tag in the Tags Tree:

Now that the Figure tag and the black lines have been artifacted, the next tag we encounter is a Table tag.  In this instance, a table was used in the authoring phase to format this section of the document but it’s not a data table and, therefore, it shouldn’t be tagged as a table.

  1. Select the Table tag in the Tags tree,
  2. Right-click on it (open the context menu),
  3. Navigate to Linearize Table,
  4. Choose Horizontally. The cells in the table are converted to one Figure tag containing the image and three P tags.
    The Table tag is selected and its context menu is open. Linearize Table and the option for Horizontally are highlighted.
  5. Verify the reading order for the Figure tag and the P tags by either clicking on them or using the Down-arrow.

Alternative Text for Figure Tags that aren’t Decorative:

Because the Figure tag here contains an image that might be interpreted as “conveying information,” it needs to have Alternative text.

  1. Navigate to the Properties panel (using keyboard navigation, hold Control, press and release Tab, and then use the down-arrow to select Properties.  Then release the Control key.)
  2. Navigate to the Alt. text field,
  3. Type the Alt. text (in this example use something like “Photo of a band performing on the main stage at the music festival”),
  4. Press the Tab key.
    Screenshot showing the Figure tag selected, the image is highlighted, and Alternative text has been added in the Properties panel.

After linearizing the Table and adding Alt. text to the Figure tag for the photo of the main stage, navigate through the tags, verifying the reading order.  When you get to the P tag containing the text, “Please note, all pets must be on a leash or in a carrier,” based on the physical view, you’d expect that the next text to be read would be the heading for “Dates and Ticket prices.”  Here, the reading order isn’t correct.  Tip:  When you realize that the “next” tag isn’t in the correct reading order, open the last tag that is correct.  That way, when you find the tag containing the text that should be next then you’ll have a landmark to more easily find the correct location in the Tags tree.

To find the tag containing the text, “Dates and Ticket Prices,” either continue navigating through the tags until you find it or highlight it in the physical view.  When you find it in the Tags tree, select the P tag containing the text (not the text element itself).

Screenshot showing the last P tag in the correct reading order open for a landmark in the Tags tree (and its text highlighted in the physical view). The next text, currently in the wrong reading order, is also highlighted.

Convert the P tag to the Proper Heading Tag

Not only is the text “Dates and Ticket Prices” in the incorrect reading order but it’s also in the wrong tag type.  We’ll fix one problem at a time.

With the P tag containing “Dates and Ticket Prices” selected, navigate to, and select, the Convert tag tab in the toolbar.

Screenshot of the CommonLook toolbar with the Convert tag tab highlighted.

In the ribbon, choose the “H2” button to convert the Paragraph tag to an H2 (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+2).

Screenshot showing a P tag selected in the Tags tree and the convert to H2 button highlighted in the ribbon of the Convert tag tab.

After converting the Paragraph tag to an H2, we’ll need to fix the reading order so that it comes right after the paragraph about pets being on a leash or in a carrier.  We could select the H2 in the Tags tree, click and hold the mouse button, and drag the tag (like you’d need to in Acrobat) but there are other ways to move tags, too (and, using the method outlined below, you can’t accidentally nest the H2 inside another tag, make it disappear, or have other frustrating things happen that are common when using Acrobat).  The method we’ll use is Change tag order.

With the H2 selected, right-click on it (open the context menu), navigate to “Change tag order,” expand the sub-menu, and choose “Up.” This’ll move the H2 one position up in the Tags tree.  Seeing as we need to move it a total of two positions, repeat this process.  OR use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Up (arrow), holding down Control, Shift, and then pressing the Up-arrow twice, to move the H2 up two positions in the Tags. Screenshot of a tag selected, its context menu is open, and the Change Tag Order options (Up or Down) are highlighted.

Merging Tags

After the H2 for “Dates and Ticket Prices,” there are two sentences, each in their own Paragraph tag.  One sentence is about when the music festival is and the other is about how much it costs (indicating that the actual prices are in the table below that sentence).  Let’s combine the text in these two tags so that we only have one P tag.  One way would be to select the text, put it all in a new P tag (like we did with the H1 at the beginning) and then “Level up” that new P tag so that it’s not nested inside one of the P tags that’s already there.  However, there’s another (perhaps easier) technique.

  1. Select the first of the two P tags,
  2. Holding Shift, select the second P tag,
  3. Right-click (open the context menu) and choose “Merge tags” (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctr+M).
    Screenshot showing two Paragraph tags selected in the Tags tree, the context menu is open, and the option to Merge Tags is highlighted.

You may notice that now you have one P tag with two text elements inside and you don’t have an empty P tag left behind.  When merging tags, CommonLook will remove empty tags automatically.  (There’s also no need to “Level up!”)

The (Second) Table Tag in the Tags Tree:

Next, there’s a data table in the physical view.

For a table to be tagged correctly, it needs to not only be “structurally sound” (a Table tag containing Table Rows (TR) which, in turn, contain Table Header (TH) and/or Table Data (TD) cells) but the header cells also need to be assigned the proper scope – column or row – so that the table information is correctly presented to individuals using assistive technology.  To verify that the table has been built correctly, and that headers are tagged properly and assigned the correct scope, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click (open the context menu) on the Table Tag in the Tags tree,
  2. Choose (at the bottom of the context menu) “Show Table Editor.”
  3. Verify, in the Table Editor, that the layout matches the table in the physical view. (In this example, it does.  Concepts like fixing tables, including redrawing/ correcting complex data tables, and more, are covered in our in-depth training courses.)
  4. In the Table Editor, select the cell containing the text “Day” (the top left corner of the table),
  5. Hold down the Shift key and choose the cell for “Four-Pack.”  This selects the top row of cells.  (Alternately, with the “Day” cell selected, hold down the Shift key and use the Right-arrow to select the rest of the cells in the top row.)
  6. In the Table Editor, there are ten icons across the top. The fifth from the left is a button to change cells to TH (Table Header cells) and to assign the scope of column.  Select this button.  (Alternatively, navigate to the Properties panel, change the tag Type to TH, and then, still in the Properties panel, navigate to the Scope options and choose “Column.”)
    Screenshot showing TD tags selected in the Tags tree and the button in the Table Editor to convert them to TH and assign the scope of Column is highlighted.
  7. In the Table Editor, choose the cell containing “Tuesday” and then hold down the Shift key and select the cell containing “3-Day Mega Pass” (again, multi-selecting these cells).  (Alternatively, after selecting “Tuesday,” hold down the Shift key and then use the Down-arrow on your keyboard to select the rest of the cells in that first column.)
  8. In the Table editor, the fourth button from the left is used to change cells to TH and assign them the scope of Row. Use this fourth button.  (Or, navigate to the Properties panel, change the tag Type to TH, and then, still in the Properties panel, navigate to the Scope options and choose “Row.”)
    Screenshot showing TD tags selected in the Tags tree and the button in the Table Editor to convert them to TH and assign the scope of Row is highlighted.
  9. Close the Table editor by selecting the “x” in its top right corner (not the “x” in the top right corner of the CommonLook window – that closes the software!). You can also close the Table Editor by selecting the Table tag in the Tags tree, opening its context menu, and “unchecking” the option “Show Table Editor.”
  10. As we worked in the Table Editor, various TR and TH/TD tags were opened in the Tags tree.  To close those tags, double-click on the Table tag in the Tags tree (or select the Table tag and use the Left-arrow to close it).

Continuing Through the Document…

After the data table, the next tag in the Tags tree is a Paragraph tag that contains the text for the heading “Location.”  Convert that to an H2.  Important:  Make sure that you’re on the Convert tag tab in the toolbar, and not the Insert tag tab if you’re converting tags using the buttons in the ribbon!

The next tag in the Tags tree is a Paragraph tag as well.  This one contains the text “Participating Vendors.”  There are two issues here:  First, it should be in an H2 tag and, second, the reading order isn’t correct.  While you’re on the P tag, convert it to an H2.  (Again, make sure you’re on the Convert tag tab and not Insert tag tab if using the buttons in the ribbon.)

Selecting the next four Paragraph tags in the Tags tree (one at a time) reveals that instead of the paragraph about the location and a list of vendors being read, assistive technology will read line by line, across the page.

In the physical view, highlight the paragraph of text under the H2 “Location” (or select the text from the tags), navigate to the Insert tag tab in the toolbar, and choose the button to insert the text into a new Paragraph tag (or, with the text selected, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+7).

Screenshot showing the text selected in the physical view. In addition, the Insert tag tab and the button to make a new Paragraph tag are highlighted.

After creating a new Paragraph tag we’ll have to fix the reading order.  There are a number of ways to fix the reading order including “Level up” and “Change tag order” but in this case, because the new Paragraph tag is somewhat far from where it really belongs in the Tags tree, Cut and Paste is really helpful.

  1. With the new P tag selected, right-click (open the context menu) and choose “Cut” (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+X).
  2. In the Tags tree, select the H2 containing the text “Location,” right-click on it (open its context menu) and then navigate to “Paste.”  Here, you’ll find a sub-menu with options to “Paste as sibling” or “Paste as child.”  Pasting as a sibling will put the new P tag with the text about the location immediately after the H2 “Location” in the Tags tree.
  3. Choose the option to “Paste as sibling.”  (“Paste as child” will place the P tag inside the H2.  As a general rule, you’ll want to choose the sibling option when pasting.)  Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V.

After moving the new Paragraph tag under the H2 for “Location,” you’ll have the H2 for “Participating Vendors” in the Tags tree.  Below that, there’ll be remnants of tag contents in the Tags tree and a list in the physical view.  We need to tag the List.

  1. Highlight the list in the physical view of the document.  Make sure to select the bullets in the list as well as the text for the list items.  (Alternatively, select the text in the Tags tree.)
  2. Navigate to the far right side of the Insert tag tab to the “Generate tag from selection” group and choose the “List” button.
    Screenshot of the ribbon on the Insert tag tab. The button the Generate a List from the Selection is highlighted.
  3. After tagging your List, move it in the Tags tree so that it’s a sibling to the H2 for “Participating Vendors.”  (You can do this with Cut and Paste, “Level up” and “Change tag order,” or by dragging it where you want it to go.)
  4. Clean up the empty tags that are left behind.  Note:  There may be tags left behind, after tagging the list, that contain the spaces after the bullets in the list.  Because those spaces aren’t important content, they don’t need to be tagged.  The “Clean up” function will automatically remove them, placing them in Artifact containers in the Untagged Content.
  5. Verify that the list was tagged correctly.  Open the list tag and find your four LI (List Item) tags.
    Screenshot of a List tag opened, showing the four List Item tags inside. The text for the list items is highlighted in the physical view.
  6. Open the List Item tags to reveal their nested (child) Lbl (Label) and LBody tags.  Selecting the Lbl tags will highlight the bullets in the physical view, selecting the LBody tags will highlight the text of the list items in the physical view.  OR, open the Lbl and LBody tags to verify their contents.
    Screenshot showing the List Item tags opened in the Tags tree. Each one contains a Label and an LBody tag. One Label and one LBody tag are selected and their contents are highlighted in the physical view.

After you’ve verified that the list was tagged correctly, close the List tag so that the Tags tree is less confusing to look at.

After the List, in the Tags tree, there’s a Paragraph tag.  Selecting it highlights what should be the next paragraph to be read in the document.  This tag is correct and doesn’t need anything else done with it!

In the set of three Figure tags near the bottom of the Tags tree, when you select the first one, you’ll notice that the logo on the right side of the page is highlighted (as opposed to the one on the left).  Hold down the Control and Shift keys and then press the Down-arrow twice to reorder the Figure tags.  Then, select them in order, from top to bottom, to verify that the logos will be read from left to right as they appear on the page.  Note:  As addressed earlier in this guide, Figure tags like these, that contain actual “content” require Alternative text.  However, we are going to skip that now and come back to it in the Verification phase – to learn another way to address Alt. text for images.

The last Paragraph in the Tags tree is tagged correctly, so, again, no further work is needed here!

Adding the Document Tag

When you’ve finished checking and fixing the tags, navigate back up to the top of the Tags tree, right-click on the Tags root (open the context menu) and choose “Add Document tag.”  This wraps everything up in a Document tag and indicates that this is one full and complete document.

Screenshot showing the Tags root selected, its context menu open, and the option to Create Document tag is highlighted.

Congratulations – you’ve checked the tags and made some fixes!  It’s time to run a Verification and make sure we didn’t miss anything…

Verifying Document Compliance (and Fixing What You Missed)

After verifying (and fixing) the tags and the reading order, follow these steps to run a Validation:

  1. Navigate to the Standards panel (on the right side of the screen above the Properties panel).  (Remember the combination of Control, Tab, and then the Down-arrow in the Active Tools Window if needed.)
  2. Select “Standards” and then double-click or press the Right-arrow on your keyboard to open the menu.
  3. Similarly, navigate to and open the “Structural” and “Accessibility” menus.
  4. From the “Structural” menu, choose ISO 32000-1:2008.  (This is the standard on “how to make a PDF” and will test the structural integrity of the document.)
  5. Hold down the Control key and, in the Accessibility menu, choose WCAG 2.0 (Revised Section 508 – 2017).  (When holding the Control key either click on WCAG 2.0 or use the Down-arrow to navigate there and then select it by pressing the Spacebar.
    Note:  In this guide, we’ll validate against WCAG.20 because it’s the most commonly used standard globally and because it’s the “new” Section 508, for our Federal Government clients.  Choose an alternate standard (“Original” 508, PDF/UA, HHS, or revised HHS 2018) if needed.
  6. Navigate to, and choose the “Full Validation” button.
    Screenshot of the Standards panel with the Structural and Accessibility menus open. ISO 32000-1:2008 and WCAG 2.0 are highlighted. The Full Validation button is also highlighted.
  7. Go to the Results panel when it opens, across the bottom of the middle panel.  (By keyboard, press and hold Control and then press the Tab key.  When the Active Tools Window opens, use the Down-arrow to navigate to Results.)  Note:  A lot of people get stressed when the Results panel opens because they think CommonLook is listing a whole lot of failures.  This is not the case.  CommonLook lists every checkpoint for the standards chosen and their status, whether it’s Passed, Failed, or requires manual verification, for example.  Don’t stress at this point!
  8. In the Results panel, navigate to the “Filter by:” drop-down menu and expand it.
  9. Uncheck the “All” checkbox.
  10. Check the boxes for Failed, User Verification, and Warning.  Now CommonLook is listing the issues, or the potential issues in the document.

Screenshot of the Results panel with the "Filter by" menu open and the checkboxes for Failed, User Verification, and Warning selected.

Fixing the Issues

Failed Items:

  1. Select the first Failure in the Results panel.  The second of the three logos, at the bottom of the page gets selected.  We’ll explore the issue and solution in the following steps:
    1. Right-click (open the context menu) on the error and choose “Fix.”  The Fix Wizard will open.
      Screenshot showing Step One in the Fix Wizard to correct the issue of a Figure tag not having Alternative text.
      In the Fix Wizard, along with a description of the failure, under “Fix Options,” there’s a drop-down menu with different ways to correct the problem.  Because this Figure tag needs to have Alternative text, we’ll use the first option shown – to “Provide Alt., Actual, or Expansion text.
    2. Choose “Next.”
    3. In Step 2, choose to “Provide Alt. text for the tag” and then “Next.”
      Step Two in the Fix Wizard for applying Alt text to Figures. The drop-down menu is open showing options to provide Alt, Actual, or Expansion text.
    4. Finally, in Step 3, enter the Alternative text needed for the image.  In this case, we’ll enter “Logo for Radio Station A 105.8 – the Armadillo.”
      Screenshot showing the Alt text added in Step 3 of the Fix Wizard.
    5. Navigate to the “Finish” button and select it.
  2. The second failed item is for the Metadata of the document, specifically that the “Viewer Preferences dictionary of the Catalog dictionary does not contain DisplayDocTitleKey” (in other words, the File name will be displayed instead of the Title).  Just like with the previous failure, open the Fix Wizard.  In this case, there’s only one option for fixing this problem so choose “Finish.”

Note:  The steps above have addressed the failures remaining in this document if you followed the remediation steps prior to the Verification section.  If you have other failures, use the Fix Wizard to address those issues as well.

User Verification Items:

After all of the Failed items have been fixed, there are a number of items that require User Verification.  Validating a document can’t be an entirely automated process because a machine can’t, for example, verify that the Alt. Text on an image is appropriate for that image.  We can automatically test whether or not Alt. text is present for the image, but verifying that something is really correct sometimes requires human interaction.  Likewise, while a machine can check a document to see whether or not color has been used, it can’t test to see if color is the only way information is being conveyed.  This is why checking the things that require “user verification” is very important.  Follow the steps below to address the User Verification items.

  1. In the Results panel, select the first User Verification item.  It’ll highlight the first image in the document (the main stage at the music festival) and select the Figure tag in the Tags tree.
  2. Open the context menu and choose “Edit Checkpoint Status” (or navigate to the Status button at the top of the Results panel).
  3. Read the description – here it’s asking whether or not the Alt. text that was provided for the Figure is appropriate.
  4. Assuming that the Alt. text is appropriate (because we typed it in during the remediation phase), in the Status drop-down menu, choose Passed.  Optional:  Enter a Comment in the “Comments” field.  Your comments will appear in the Compliance Report that we’re going to generate later.
    Screenshot of the Status Dialog box with the Status set to Passed, the description of the checkpoint, and a comment in the Comments field.
  5. Choose Ok.
  6. Select the next User Verification item (the logo for the radio station Q99.4) and open the Status Dialog again.  The Alt. text looks like the radio station’s URL instead of indicating that it’s their logo.  Follow these steps to fix the issue:
    1. Select “Cancel” in the Status Dialog box.
    2. Navigate to the Alt. text field in the Figure tag’s Properties panel.
    3. Enter the appropriate Alt. text; something like “The logo for radio station Q99.4.”
    4. Press the Tab key on your keyboard.
    5. To refresh your validation results, navigate to the Standards panel, choose the Structural check ISO 32000-1:2008 and then, in Accessibility, choose WCAG 2.0.
    6. Navigate to, and choose the Incremental Validation button.  This will refresh your validation results.
    7. Use the Status Dialog box again to verify that the new Alt. text is correct.  If it is, change the Status to “Passed,” type a comment if needed, and choose Ok.
  7. The next two items to verify are for the other images in the document. The first one is for the radio station A105.8.  The Alt. text was added when fixing the Failed items.  Change the Status to “Passed.”  The second error shows the Alt. text of “Dog” for the logo belonging to Pet Wearhouse.  This Alt. text is incorrect and should be fixed, just like we did for the logo for the radio station Q99.4.
    Important:  After fixing the Alt. text for Pet Wearhouse’s logo, run another Incremental verification to reset your results and then change the Status to “Passed.”
  8. Next, verify that the List Numbering value (Circle) is correct (which it is, for this bulleted list).  Change that item’s Status to Passed.”
  9. The next item is asking us to verify that color use, contrast, format, layout, etc., aren’t the only way that information is being conveyed.  Seeing as this isn’t an issue in this document, change the status to “Passed.”
  10. Similar to the previous verification item, this test is asking specifically about the contrast ratio and making sure that there is enough contrast, visually, so that content is easily read.  Again, we can pass this item.
  11. Next, we’re asked whether or not the Title of the document is appropriate.  It is, so we can pass this item as well.
  12. Finally, verify that the language setting (in this case English) is correct. This can be passed as well.

Note:  In your own documents, if you’re verifying the Title, for example, and you find that it’s incorrect, navigate to the Metadata panel (because the Title is part of the Metadata) and then make the necessary corrections.  Then, make sure to run your Incremental verification again.


There are two Warnings in our Results panel.

Regarding the Warning for the Table summary, if you check the Description in the Status Dialog box, you’re told that the “Table doesn’t define the Summary attribute.”  There are a couple of ways that we can handle this checkpoint.

  1. Use the Fix Wizard to assign a Summary to the table.  The summary won’t show up on the page in the document but it’ll be available to people using assistive technology.  They’ll be able to hear the summary, for example, and then decide whether or not they want to listen to more of the data in the table.  Note:  If you provide a Summary for the table then it’ll come up as a User Verification item for you to verify that the Summary is accurate.  This is a good time to reread what you wrote, check spelling, etc.
  2. In the Status Dialog, set the Status to Passed.  Important:  In the Compliance Report, this checkpoint will be listed and it’ll show as “Passed” but the Description will still indicate that there’s no Summary.  If you’re going to mark this as “Passed,” it would be a good idea to provide a comment as to why the table didn’t need a Summary.

For the last Warning listed in the Results panel, reading the Description (in the Status Dialog box) tells us that “Page 1 contains content but does not define header or footer pagination artifacts. Please confirm this is correct.”  In this document, there aren’t any headers at the top of the page and there aren’t any footers at the bottom so you can safely change the status to “Not Applicable.”

Congratulations!  At this point, all of the errors in the document have been corrected.

Reporting Compliance

Once you’ve finished fixing the document, including the items that come up in the Verification phase, you can generate a Compliance Report.  This report will show that the document has been tested against the standards that you chose and the issues have been addressed.  In addition, if you typed comments in the Status Dialog box, they’ll be in the report as well.

  1. Navigate to the “Filter by:” drop-down menu at the top of the Results panel and check the box next to “All.”
  2. Go to the “Report” button (next to the drop-down filter options) and select it to generate a report.
  3. In the “Save As” dialog that opens, choose the file name and location for your report.  By default, they’ll be the same as for the PDF itself.  Note:  The report is saved as an HTML file.
  4. Save.

The document is now remediated.

Save and Close.  At the very top left corner in CommonLook, there are two disc icons.  The second one is for “Save and Close.”  When you’re done remediating the document, choose this option (keyboard shortcut Alt+2).  This’ll compress the file back down (if it got a little bit “inflated” during remediation), save your work, and close both CommonLook and Acrobat.
Screenshot with the Save and Close icon highlighted.

Parting Comments

It’s our hope that this PDF document and the Quick Start Guide get you up and running successfully with the CommonLook PDF software.  With a little bit of practice, we’re sure that the steps outlined in this guide will become second nature and remediating documents will become a much faster, efficient, and easier task than ever before.

To further help in your remediation work, here’s our PDF Remediation Workflow Checklist, intended to help you remember many of the “little things” that are easy to forget but important to do when remediating PDFs.

Please keep in mind that this Quick Start Guide is designed to get you started using CommonLook PDF.  To get the most from your software investment, we strongly encourage you to attend our training classes where even more features, tips, tricks, and tools are taught in even greater depth.  Please refer to our training calendar, contact your account executive, or email for more information on our various training opportunities.

We wish you all the best in your remediating projects!