PDF accessibility
with LaTeX/xerif

transpect user group, 16.9.2022

PDF accessibility


  • PDF/A-1a (2005)
  • PDF/A-2a (2011)
  • PDF/UA (2012)

also called “tagged PDF”, not to be
confused with regular PDF/A

Common PDF Tags

  • Part, Sect, Div, BlockQuote
  • H1–H6
  • P, LI
  • Table, Figure, Formula, Form
  • Artifact

PDF requirements

  • complete tagging of all perceivable content
  • maintain logical reading order
  • tags must represent the semantic structure
  • no illogical headings, color/contrast to convey information, inaccessible JavaScript, and more

PDF requirements

  • alternative text for images and equations
  • security settings must allow assistive technology
  • embed Unicode-compatible fonts
  • ability to navigate the document

Anatomy of a PDF/UA file


Screenshot of an PDF/UA with Adobe Acrobat where you can 
              see the structure of the PDF tags.

PDF accessibility with LaTeX/xerif

PDF accessibility with LaTeX

  • LaTeX: pdftag package by Ulrike Fischer
  • le-tex: TeX accessibility framework by Axel Strübing
  • xerif
    • 2023: implement in TeX framework, testing
    • 2024: production

xerif: To-Dos

  • PDF XMP metadata
  • implement accessibility in xerif macros
  • develop accessibility features for customer-specific styles
  • testing and get feedback from DZB and partners

Thank you
for your attention!