Background and Purpose I Instructions I Preferences I Presenter Notes


Applied to PDF, this provision of Section 508 means that files must be tagged in a logical reading order. PDF was originally designed for printing and display purposes, not to provide extractable text for assistive technologies. While PDF can be highly accessible, different applications produce PDF files in different ways and for many reasons. There’s simply no way to be sure of correct logical reading order unless it’s verified.

The purpose of this checkpoint is to ensure that the content is tagged in logical reading order.

The Readability Checkpoint in CommonLook Office allows the user to choose between:

  • Accepting the order of objects as presented.
  • Re-ordering objects automatically (from top-to-bottom, left-to-right)
  • Manually order the objects, often after automatically re-ordering

Since reading order is critical to accessibility, this checkpoint appears for each slide to ensure the user verifies the logical reading order prior to conversion to PDF.


  1. For each slide, review the ordering of objects as presented in the Current Checkpoint tab to be sure it’s appropriate for the content.
  2. To automatically order objects top-to-bottom, left-to-right, click Order Objects.
  3. To adjust order manually, select the object to be re-ordered and click Down or Up to move the item within the logical order of the slide.
  4. Click Next to continue.

Picture showing a PowerPoint document with a text in color and a color chart. The color removal filter shows how the information conveyed in color is lost.

Preference Setting

You may choose a Checkpoint Preference to automatically re-order objects when the slide is opened. The default is set to no auto-ordering.

Presenter Notes

Presenter notes in the PowerPoint will not be tagged and included in the reading order of each slide.  Therefore, if the notes contain information valuable to the PDF user, the author should include that information in the actual content of the slide.

Guidelines and Standards

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

DocumentPublishedScopeConformance Criteria
Section 508 (USA)2001“Web-Based Information & Applications”(d)
W3C WCAG 2.02008Web ContentSC 1.3.1
SC 1.3.2
ISO 14289 (PDF/UA)2012PDF TechnologySection 7.2


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