Important Notes Before We Begin:

  1. NVDA (version 2018.2.1) and Adobe Acrobat DC (version 2018.011.20055) were used for this documentation.
  2. These instructions are for testing a PDF that is assumed to have been previously remediated. As such, remediation instructions for fixing issues are not provided.
  3. Remember that the recommended workflow, when remediating a document, is to navigate through the tags fixing tagging, reading order, tables, lists, Tables of Contents, color issues, Alt text for images, etc., as needed. A similar workflow will be used for verification, navigating through the tags first and then running the “Standards” validations.
  4. While keystrokes are provided in each step, here’s a link to the CommonLook PDF Keyboard Shortcuts

Testing a PDF with CommonLook

Follow the steps below to verify your PDF and to generate a report.

  1. Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. On your keyboard, press Alt. This will select the “File” tab in Acrobat.
  3. Use the Right-arrow to navigate to “Plug-Ins.”
  4. Press Enter to open the Plug-Ins menu.
  5. Use the Down-arrow on your keyboard to navigate to CommonLook (if you have other plug-ins in Acrobat, for example).
  6. From the “CommonLook” option, use the Right-arrow to expand the CommonLook menu and then navigate (with the Down-arrow, if needed) to the “CommonLook PDF GlobalAccess” option.
  7. Press Enter to open CommonLook
  8. When CommonLook opens, you’ll hear “Window.” Hold down the Control key and press and release the Tab key to open the “Active Tools Window” dialog box.  Continue holding the Control key and use the Up or Down-arrow to navigate through the tool options. When you get to the option you want, release the Control key.  CommonLook will take you to the tool’s panel that you just selected.
  9. Navigate to the Tags panel.
  10. Use the Right-arrow on your keyboard to expand the Tags root. Navigate through the Tags tree – the Up and Down-arrows will move you up and down through the tags.  The Right-arrow will open tags and text elements inside the tags, the Left-arrow will close text elements and tags.
  11. Verify correct tagging, tag structure (for tables, lists, and Tables of Contents, for example), organization of heading levels, reading order, etc.
  12. After manually verifying the Tags panel, open the Active Tools Window again and choose Standards.
  13. From the Standards panel, use the Right-arrow to open the Standards menu and then navigate to “Structural.”
  14. Press the Right-arrow to Open “Structural.”
  15. Use the Down-arrow to navigate to “Accessibility” and open that menu as well.
  16. Use the Up-arrow to navigate back to “Structural” and select ISO 32000-1:2008.
  17. Press and hold the Control key and then, using the Down-arrow, navigate to the Accessibility standard you want to test against. Options are Section 508 (2001) (the “Original” Section 508, before the refresh in 2017), WCAG 2.0 (Revised Section 508 – 2017), PDF/UA (ISO 14289-1), HHS (this is the US Department of Health and Human Service’s standard), and HHS (2018 regulations) (because the HHS standard was also “refreshed” after Section 508 became WCAG 2.0AA.)
  18. After navigating to the desired Accessibility standard, press the Spacebar to select it.
  19. Use the Tab key to navigate to the Full button to run a Full validation and press Enter.
  20. After running your validation, use the Active Tools Window (Control and Tab) to navigate to the Results panel.
  21. Pressing the Tab key from the Results panel will take you to a dropdown menu (combo box) where you can filter your results. Depending on what you want to report on, from a testing standpoint, you might choose to filter your test results.  A couple of options and reasons why to choose one or the other are outlined here:
    1. By default, when the Results panel opens, it will list every checkpoint in the standards and their testing status – whether the checkpoints have passed, failed, require manual verification, or are not applicable to the document (for example, if there isn’t embedded multimedia in the document then that checkpoint is “not applicable.”) If you want to report on the status of every checkpoint keep this default option. (The disadvantage of this option is that the report will be longer than if you filter it, for example, and people reading the report will have to sift through the checkpoints to determine on their own what’s passed and what failed.)
    2. To filter the report, so that it only shows the issues (or potential issues) in the document, expand the combo box, uncheck the “All” checkbox and then choose the checkboxes for “Failed,” “User Verification,” and “Warning.”
  22. After filtering (or not filtering) your results, you can:
    1. Generate your compliance report. From the Combo box, press the Tab key, navigate to the Report button, and press Enter. This will bring up a Save As dialog box to save the report.  By default, the report will be saved in the same location where the PDF is saved, and it’ll save as an HTML file.  The file name will also be the same as the PDF’s file name.  Change the location and/or the file name if needed.
    2. Navigate through the table of results. You can get there either by pressing the Tab key through the buttons for Report, Status, Column Options, and Clear Results, or you can simply press the Down arrow on your keyboard to navigate into the table.  (Tip:  Select the Column Options button and then reorder or remove from the results table the reporting options.  By default, in the table, the column headers will be the Result Number, Checkpoint, Test, Standard Name, Results, Description, and Comment.  Because you know what standard you chose when running your validation, you might choose to remove the Standard Name from the table, for example.  Also, it might make things easier if you move the Results – whether a checkpoint has passed, failed, or requires user verification, for example – or the Description – the explanation for the test result – to the top of the list so that, in the table, those things are read before the checkpoint name, and result number.  To do this, choose the Column Options button (with the Enter key), tab over to the Selected Columns panel, and then use the arrow and Tab keys to select various options and remove or reorder them.
  23. After you’ve checked out your PDF and generated your report, press Alt and F4 to close CommonLook.