The Windows Tab

On this page:  Affected Elements I Bookmarks I Checkpoint Configuration I Find and Replace I Metadata I Properties I Results I Role Map I Search Tags I Standards I Table Editor I Tags I Untagged Content I Destinations I Help I Moving Panels I Next Pages

The Windows tab and Ribbon in CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess

Keyboard Navigation:  Use Ctrl+Tab to open the Active Tools Window and then use the up or down arrow keys on your keyboard as another way of getting to all of the panels that are listed on this page.  Follow the link for more information and/or additional Keyboard Shortcuts.

Affected Elements

This panel will open and list the changes that have been made when an operation such as Find and Replace, Search Tags, or Tag Similar has been run.  For example, when using Find and Replace. to provide Alt text to symbols all at once, the Affected Elements panel will open listing all of the <Span> tags that contain the symbols.  You can then verify the Alt text for the <Span> tags if needed.


This panel provides the option to generate, review, and edit the bookmarks for the document.

Checkpoint Configuration

This panel allows you to create and/or edit checkpoints within the standards, if needed.

Find and Replace

Allows you to find text in the document and then either replace it with alternative (or actual) text or add alt. (or actual) text to the existing text.  (This can be very useful in documents in which there is a symbol used to convey information.  The symbol can easily be found and then alt. text can be used to replace the symbol with the relevant information.)  Note:  Find will simply locate the text in the document.  Then use Replace to make the necessary changes.


This panel allows you to set the metadata for the document while in CommonLook, as opposed to having to change the settings in Acrobat.  In the Metadata panel, there is a checkbox for “Suspects.”  PDF/UA specifications state that this checkbox should be unchecked.  It is checked if the application that tagged the PDF is not sure whether or not the reading order of the document is correct.  If the checkbox is checked, after reading order has been manually verified, the checkbox should then be unchecked to make the document comply with PDF/UA standards.

Remember to separate Keywords with semicolons and the Author’s name should be the name of the organization (department, agency, etc.), not that of an individual person (as per HHS standards and “best practices”).

The Title is required for accessibility standards as is setting the document to display the Title as opposed to the File Name.  Both of these requirements can be set here, in the Metadata panel.

A Subject can also be provided if needed.

In addition, there are checkboxes to indicate that your document complies with  PDF/UA, Section 508, WCAG 2.0AA, and/or HHS.  After your PDF has been remediated and verified, check the checkbox(es) that are applicable.


This panel displays the Properties for the selected tag.  There are a number of options, fields, etc. in the properties panel for any given tag and these will be discussed in another section of this User’s Guide.  Follow the link to view the page on Tag Properties.


When a validation is run (in the Standards Panel) then the Results panel will open to show where the document is in compliance with the selected standard(s) and where it needs to be fixed.  When the Results panel first opens, it’ll list all of the checkpoints in the selected standard(s) and their status – Passed, Failed, Not Applicable, User Verification required, etc.  Filter the results to show, for example, only the issues that fail or require manual verification in order to make the document comply.  Use the Report button to create a report indicating that the document is in compliance or to send failure information to someone else who may be tasked with remediating the document.  From the Results panel, too, you can select the Failures and use the Fix Wizard to correct issues in the document and/or, for the User Verification or Warning items, you can check their status and edit it/ address the issues as needed.

Role Map

This panel shows a list of non-standard tags used in the document and the standard tags that they’re mapped to (associated with).  For example, the nonstandard tag “CommonLook” may be mapped to the standard tag <P> (paragraph).  (This can be important to verify and correct, if needed, to make sure that assistive technologies treat the non-standard tags correctly.

Search Tags

Advanced Version Only – This panel allows you to search for specific tags in the document, or just a section of the document, and provides various options for search parameters (the tag is a parent/child of a particular tag type, for example).  Once the desired tag(s) are located, then the necessary changes may be applied in a simple and efficient manner.


This panel has two sections.  The first is to check the document’s Structural compliance with PDF specifications (ISO 32000-1:2008).  Specifically, this is to verify that the tags being used are constructed correctly.  For example, it will verify that all <L> tags contain <LI> tags which in turn contain <Lbl> and <LBody> tags, <Table> tags contain <TR> tags which in turn contain <TD> and/or <TH> tags, etc.  It’ll also test for broken links, empty tags, and other potential issues.

The second section, Accessibility, provides a drop-down menu to check a document against a specific set of accessibility criteria.  The options are Section 508 (2001 – the Original Section 508), WCAG 2.0 (Revised Section 508 – 2017), PDF/UA 1.0 (ISO 14289-1),  HHS (the Original HHS standard, prior to the Section 508 Refresh), and HHS (2018 regulations – based on WCAG 2.0AA, after the Section 508 Refresh).

When validating a document against a set standard, there are two options:

  1. The Full Verification will test the document in its entirety, even if it has already been checked.  Use this option the first time you test the document.
  2. The Incremental Verification will only test the parts of the document that have had changes applied to it since the last validation.  The Incremental Verification is particularly helpful when validating checkpoints that are “User Verify.”  With the Incremental Verification , once these checkpoints have been verified and passed, they will not need to be rechecked when the rest of the document is being remediated and validated.

Table Editor

The Table Editor panel is a powerful tool when working on tables, providing the ability to easily generate linked headers on complex tables, and simplifying the process for marking header cells with the correct scope and span, merging cells, adding or deleting cells, and a variety of other tasks.


This panel shows all of the tags in the document and how they’re constructed/ arranged in the reading order.  Unless someone is using the navigational functionality of a screen reader, it’ll read the document straight down the Tags tree from the top to the bottom.  While in CommonLook, as tags are selected in the Tags tree, the content in those tags is highlighted in the Physical View so you can easily see the content associated with each tag.  (If using a screen reader, when a tag is selected, your AT will tell you the tag type and that it’s collapsed.  Use the right arrow on your keyboard to open the tag and hear the text inside.  If it’s a <Figure> tag, for example, navigate to the Properties panel and then to the Alt text field to hear the Alt text for that tag.)

Untagged Content

This panel lists, page by page, all of the content in the document that has been untagged (marked as artifacts) and, as a result, will not be read by a screen reader.


This panel lists the Named Destinations in the document as well as providing the functionality to sort, add, edit, or delete them.

Follow this link for more information about Named Destinations.


This panel provides a link to the online User’s Guide and other resources.

Moving the Panels

When selecting and viewing the various panels in the Windows Tab, users also have the ability to move and resize the panels to facilitate working in the document.  Tip:  If you open panels, or move them around for whatever reason, and you want to close them or put them back where they originally were, use the “Reset Panels Location” option in the Settings Tab.

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 – 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

Keyboard Shortcuts

PDF Remediation Workflow Checklist