OpenOffice for Mac: How Convert Word/PowerPoint to Tagged PDFs in a Jiffy

One of the things I’ve been dreading is fixing untagged PDFs in Adobe Acrobat. It can be done, but it’s not exactly the user friendly set of tools.

What I want is a tool to convert my correctly structured Word and PowerPoint to correctly tagged PDFs. In Office for Windows, this can be done with a click of a button, usually from within Windows. Unfortunately, the same is not true in Office for Mac (which only recently got ALT tagging (in the Mac version)). Even the accessibility Wizards are Windows only (sigh).

Fortunately, there is a cheap and simple accessibility tool for the Mac built within Open Office for the Mac (a shareware product). Open Office is an open source analogue of Microsoft Office, but sometimes it has some extra tricks not in Microsoft Office.
Note: Open Office is installed on CLC Student Lab Macs.

Create Tagged PDF in Open Office

Let’s assume you have a well-structured Word file (using Heading 1,Heading 2 styles and ALT tags on images) or a well-structured PowerPoint file (Image ALT tags, titles on all the slides and using default list tools).

To create the accessible tagged PDF:

  1. Download and install Open Office following instructions on the Web site.
  2. Create a second copy of your Word and PowerPoint files. For best results, I would save your original files as the older format .doc and .ppt files.
  3. Open Word or PowerPoint document in Open Office.
  4. To add an ALT tag to images, right click or Control+click on image and select Description option. Fill in a Title and Description and close.
  5. Ensure that all headings (Word) and titles (PowerPoint) are in place.
  6. In the File menu, select Export as PDF
  7. In the PDF Options window, check Tagged PDF.
  8. Click Export. A tagged PDF is exported.

Note: The same tools are also available in NeoOffice.

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