Video demos of the top 5 ways to fix accessibility issues in existing PDF documents

Adobe Acrobat Professional comes in handy if you want to modify/update your existing PDF documents without re-generating it from the source files. While PDF documents are for consumption and are a final output without much scope for large-scale editing, Adobe Acrobat does allow you to do different types of edits, including but not limited to, editing text, editing images, manipulating backgrounds, manipulating watermarks, adding or modifying numbering, and so on. Another set of under-the-hood manipulations allow you to make your PDF documents accessible and help differently abled people consume the content. This also makes your PDF files more search engine friendly.

In the blog post on my team’s blog, I posted my favorite top 5 fixes for PDF documents to boost their accessibility. Click on the image below to access the blog post.

Top 5 accessibility fixes for PDFsIn this blog post I am compiling a few handpicked videos, shared by the fantastic Adobe Acrobat community, to showcase these top 5 enhancements.

Run OCR on a scanned document

The following video is a very quick but silent one. Watch it if you only need to quickly find how to do OCR in Acrobat.

The following video is one of the more detailed one out there, with a nice voice over.

The below video, recorded a few years ago by Tim Plumer Jr., has fantastic lucid narration (hence slightly longer) that showcases OCR using an older version of Acrobat. Watch this video if you are new to the OCR concept. While the UI has changed, the concepts remain exactly the same.

Add Document Properties and metadata

The following videos by Sally Cox, is a hidden gem. It describes in great detail where to find which properties and how to update open settings, metadata, and other Initial View. She also illustrates the change by showing before-after scenario. The 10 minutes are well spent, but view it with a mental state to learn.

For a very quick look at how to update just the metadata of a PDF document, watch the following video.

Set alternative text

Watch the following video to get a very quick look at just how to add alt text to an image.

Tag a PDF document or define flow

The following video talks about enhancing the flow of content in a PDF file. The video describes the issue of lack of flow in detail–very lucid.

The following videos shows tags in a PDF file and how to work with them.

Act on the detailed accessibility report

You can check the accessibility by running a full blown accessibility check on a PDF document. Two videos I think are useful to know how to run the report and act on it are below:


Image source is Wikimedia Commons public domain image.


Keyboard shortcuts of project management platform Trello

Trello is one of the best web-based project management platform.

It is quite user-friendly and the neat keyboard shortcuts enhance its usability even further. A complete list is available at In the demo below, I have covered the most relevant and useful shortcuts.

Shortcuts covered in the demo are:

  1. Use all 4 arrows keys to navigate between cards.
  2. Pressing “n” opens a pop-over that allows you to add a card after the currently selected card.
  3. Pressing the left or right angle brackets (< and >) will move a card to the adjacent left or right list.
  4. Pressing “m” opens the add / remove members menu. Clicking a member’s avatar will assign or unassign that person.
  5. Pressing “d” will open the due date picker for a card.
  6. Pressing “l” opens available labels. Press a label’s number to apply the label.

The best keyboard shortcut I like: Press ‘q’ to view only your cards. This applies a filter. Press ‘x’ to remove this (and any other) filters applied.

Filtering cards in Trello for more focus on specific tasks

Trello is a very user-friendly project management software. To make it even more usable, you can focus on your specific tasks by filtering your cards.

  • You can access all your cards, across all your boards, on one page at You can sort by your board by list and by due date. Cards are are shown in the order of lists from left to right.
  • You can see only the cards assigned to you to remove the clutter. This is useful when the board becomes large.
  • You can filter by due date to know where to focus right now.
  • Trello remembers your filters when you log in next.

I have covered these in the following demo.

Tip: To filter just your cards, press ‘Q’ on your keyboard when viewing a board. Remove this filter by pressing ‘Q’ or ‘X’.

Index multiple PDFs and do full text advanced searches using Acrobat Professional

I face scenarios when I have to search for content across multiple documents. I talked about them in detail here. In this post, I share my favorite method to achieve this. As I said before, it gives a better user experience, is quite intuitive for anyone to follow, and fits well in the wider work flow.

  • Place all PDF documents in a single folder. If you have non-PDF docs, create PDF output of those.
  • Index the PDF files using Acrobat.
  • You can search in the index using Boolean queries of ALL your search strings.
  • Optionally (and this is best part!), you can export and save the search results as CSV or PDF. This enables further actions on search results.
    • I typically save the results as PDFs when I want to send them for a shared review with ability to comment on individual result.
    • I typically save the results as CSV when I want to create an Excel file with more columns for tracking or effort estimates for each result.

The following video is a quick demonstration of the above steps.

Tip: If you do not see ‘Document Processing’ option in the Tools pane, follow the three steps indicated in the following screenshot.

Document Processing Option in Acrobat

Note: Indexing multiple files is possible in Acrobat Professional only and not in Acrobat Standard. If you don’t find these options on the UI, re-check your Acrobat product.

Further references:

To just know about indexing PDF files, see this section in the article.
For a broader discussion about cataloging and indexing, see this article.
For advanced options for searching, see this article.

Format the date pattern in PDF forms using LiveCycle Designer

We have our own preferable ways to write the date format. Most of the great software honor this and allow users to configure the pattern of a date.

If you are creating a PDF form using Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES3, having a date format of your choice is a walk in the park. LC Designer offers many pre-defined formats for the purpose, and also lets you define your own custom formats using the building blocks, such as MM for month, YY for 2-digit year, and YYYY for 4-digit value of the year. Watch the video to see how do so.

For more information see the following links:
A complete list of Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES3 documentation.

Detailed information about date patterns in Designer Help.

Check out the Designer FAQ for more Q&A.

Adobe LiveCycle Designer: Create drop-down list of PDF forms with data in Excel

You can create versatile PDF forms using Adobe LiveCycle Designer. If your forms contain drop-down lists, you can either type all the values, or bring a large chunk of values from MS Excel or plain text formats. Watch the video to see how.

This is especially helpful for large dataset, where it is practically impossible to type them. Although this video uses Designer 10 as part of Adobe LiveCycle ES3, this works in some other versions of Designer too.

For more information see the following links:
A complete list of Adobe LiveCycle Designer ES3 documentation.

More information about the Drop-down lists in Designer Help.

Check out the Designer FAQ for more Q&A.

Find all FrameMaker files that use a particular image

We know how to find all the graphics used in a FM file. What if you want to find all the FM files using a particular image, screenshot, graphic, or artwork?

Say, an element of your UI has changed and you have to publish only those documents which use that screenshot.

Say, you want to change description of an artwork that is used in a few documents.

On a local copy of your files you can quickly search for such documents using the illustrated method. Besides native FrameMaker files, this method works on XML and other text files too.

You can download Ultra File Search from its homepage.