Background and Purpose I Instructions

Background and Purpose

Tags in PDF define the logical organization and structure of the document so that it can be understood properly by screen readers and other assistive technology devices. It is important that each object (for example, slide titles) be mapped to the correct PDF tag (usually H2 or H3).

This checkpoint helps to ensure that objects on the slide are properly assigned (mapped) to the appropriate PDF tags.

Some examples include:

  • Section headings (for example, the title to a sub-section) must be tagged accordingly. Set the appropriate heading level (H1, H2, H3, etc).
  • Significant graphics not used as headings must be marked with a <Figure> tag.
  • Content that’s purely decorative must be marked as an “artifact”.
  • Formulas (mathematics) should be marked with the <Formula> tag.


  1. For the first task displayed, check the PDF tag set for that object at the bottom of the Current Checkpoint window.
  2. When you see an incorrect mapping, select the correct tag from the drop down box at the bottom of the CommonLook Office panel.
  3. Click Next Task until you’ve reviewed all the objects requiring a style check.

For objects containing lists, paragraphs and tables: ensure these are set to “Autodetect”.

Picture of the CommonLook Office panel showing the styles used in the Word document, the locations where     they are used and the PDF taggs to which they are mapped side by side with the PowerPoint presentation.

Guidelines and Standards

This checkpoint is relevant to the following regulations, guidelines and standards.

Document Published Scope Conformance Criteria
Section 508 (USA) 2001 “Web-Based Information & Applications” (d)
W3C WCAG 2.0 2008 Web Content SC 1.3.1
SC 2.4.6
SC 2.4.10
ISO 14289 (PDF/UA) 2012 PDF Technology Section 7.1


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