Your achievements

Level 1

0% to

Level 2

Tip /
Sign in

Sign in to Community

to gain points, level up, and earn exciting badges like the new
Bedrock Mission!

Learn more

View all

Sign in to view all badges

Text boxes are not being read when the document is tabbed through

Level 2
Level 2

I’m wondering if someone may have a solution to this text box problem. I am trying to create 508 compliant forms and I’m 95% there except for the text boxes. The two text boxes have their role set to Heading and Heading Level 1 so they are recognized by Acrobat. However for some reason they are not being read when the form is tabbed through in Acrobat Reader using the read aloud function under the view menu.

In the screen shot below the first element to be read on the form while tabbing is “Enter Date” then Start Date and then End Date and so on. The title (Heading) and subtitle (Heading Level 1) are both being skipped even though the tabbing order is correct.

If I change the title and subtitle from a (Text box) to a (Text Field) they are both read correctly when tabbing through the form. The problem is the words (text field) are then added to the end of the titles implying that the user should add text at that point which is incorrect so that is not a solution.

Can text boxes be read by tabbing or is it only controls can be read while tabbing?

Any guidance or direction to a solution on this would be greatly appreciated.


4 Replies
Level 4
Level 4

hello again. 

im not american so i dont know all the rules related to 508, our accessibility guidelines are based on WCAG 2.0 (see PDF Techniques | Techniques for WCAG 2.0).  Nor am i an accessibility expert by any means.  i can only tell you what i know based on my experiences with adobe.

im assuming this is an interactive form?

Based on my experience that the "Read Aloud" feature doesnt work so well if at all with interactive forms.  With static forms, the Read Aloud will read the labels only.

We use JAWS and when we tab throughout the text fields, it will read out loud what is written in the Accessibility tab.  From what i remember, Labels (aka text, not text box) dont get read with JAWS, however if you "hover" over the field, you will see bubble text.  I dont remember wrt to setting the Role = Headings whether it gets read, but i dont believe so.  There is no WCAG 2.0- PDF technique that states that fields must be read out loud to be accessible.  PDF12 only states that name, role and value be enabled for assistive technology WHETHER it be screen readers, screen manifiers, etc.  It doesnt say HOW. ie. must be read out loud vs. indicated in a bubble, etc.

JAWS does not read the alt-text when you hover over an image with JAWS.  you will only see bubble text.

What im told from adobe is that you put in the accessibilty into the form.  Different accessibility readers will work better than others and so some readers will read the Headings whiles others wont, etc.  Adobe seems to have indicated to me that they are better partners with NVDA than JAWS and so their accessbility features work better with NVDA.  We dont have NVDA, so i can't verify whether those statements are true.

We've hired accessibility ppl and have spoken to the adobe accessibility expert and they have *argued* (not sure if that is the right word) that the WCAG requirements have been met.  As the PDF techniques are "techniques" and "requirements" that are up for interpretation and implementation.

We can only state that we've done due dilligence and can argue that our forms are WCAG 2.0 compliant but there are no WCAG police.

Level 2
Level 2

Thank you for your time and expertise and apologize for the delay as I was pulled onto another project.

I installed the NVDA reader which seems to work on my machine and for some reason JAWS kept crashing my machine.

I will have to carefully review the WCAG 2.0 guidelines to make sure I am meeting the requirements. The client is under the impression that the complete form should be read aloud by the screen reader.

I am sure I will post additional questions as I just started to learn ES4 and the accessibility requirements are new to me.

Thanks again and have a great day.

Level 10
Level 10


I think there are two modes with screen readers, a read mode and a form filling mode.  The read mode will read everything and the form mode will only read the controls the user can interact with.  In read mode the text objects are read.  I think the screen readers will start in read mode and change to form mode when you start tabbing or clicking.  In the default NVDA install I think the Insert-Down Arrow will  get you back into read mode, but aren't sure as I haven't done this stuff for some time and don't currently have it installed.



Level 2
Level 2

Hello Bruce,

Thank you for the reply.

I did figure out the different modes and things seem to be working.

Apologize for the delay and thought I had responded to your post.

Thanks again.