On this page: Selecting text runs | Moving text runs into new tags | Managing individual text runs | Demo

As we saw in the previous chapter, accessible PDF requires that text runs and tags be in correct reading order as well as being in appropriate paragraph, heading, and other tags.

Selecting Text Runs

Changing the selection tool to Text Runs Only makes it possible to grab just specific text runs visually, even if they are grouped with images. The selector tool defaults to the exact setting when CommonLook PDF is first opened. This mode is represented by the white pointer with the word Exact to the right of it. Clicking on the drop down will reveal your other choices.

To select text alone (no tags or images):

  1. From the Selection tool menu, click Text Runs Only.
  2. In the Physical view on the right hand side, hold down your left mouse button and draw a red rectangle around the text you want.
  3. Release the left mouse button. The text runs are highlighted with red boxes around them in the Logical view.

It is possible to set the selector tool to text runs only and then select text runs individually in the logical view. Holding down the shift key allows multiple selections. This can be cumbersome in the case of a large body of text but is very important for precise work. The click and drag method to highlight in the physical pane is usually preferred.

Screen-shot showing text-runs selected in the Logical View.

The choice of selection tool mode is important to working with CommonLook PDF efficiently. Using the wrong setting can result in graphics or other elements being affected. Be aware of the selection tool setting to ensure desired results.

It may be necessary to split a text run in order to have some of its contents in one tag and other parts in a different tag. See Editing Content.

Moving text runs into new tags

The first step in adjusting text run placement or order is to use CommonLook PDF’s Physical Window to select a block of text to be enclosed by a single tag. You’ll see the corresponding text runs selected in the Logical View.

Click the insert new paragraph toolbar button to place the text runs into a new paragraph tag. It’s simplest to use the shortcut CTRL+7 as this will avoid the choice of shared or individual parent tags.

Toolbar with the new paragraph button highlighted.

If you used the new paragraph toolbar button, you are prompted to choose a Shared Parent tag or Individual Parent tags for your selected text runs. Select Shared Parent tag in order to group the text runs within a single paragraph tag, which is what you’ll usually want. The “Individual Parents” option places each text run into its own tag, which can be useful under certain circumstances.

Managing individual text runs

  1. Select a paragraph in the physical view. The corresponding text runs are highlighted in the logical view, regardless of the current tag.
  2. Drag and drop the selected text runs into the desired tag
  3. Check to make sure the individual text runs are in the correct order within the paragraph tag; drag and drop as necessary. Paragraph tags should follow the correct reading order you see from the physical page.

It’s also possible that while text runs are grouped correctly; the tag is semantically incorrect. To change a tag type:

  1. Set the selection tool to Exact.
  2. Select the tag to be changed. There are three ways to convert a tag after it has been selected:
  • Use <ALT>+<1-6> to convert it to a heading. The number <ALT>+<7> will convert it to a paragraph.
  • From the Edit menu, click Tag Converter. Select the correct heading from the list.
  • Click the Properties tab located in the physical pane. Click in the Type field. Click the box that appears on the far right. Select the correct heading level.

The convert tag properties dialog with the convert dropdown highlighted.

This video offers a basic demonstration of reading order management using CommonLook PDF:

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