Adobe Reader DC update, the first ever access to tagged pdf's on the mac, perhaps.

macOS and Mac Apps

Last week, Adobe announced the upcoming release of Adobe Acrobat DC and Adobe Reader DC, These updates claim to have accessibility features that would be a game changer on the mac. As I'm sure everyone knows, there is currently little meaningful support for tagged pdf's on the mac, which makes accessing pdf's annoying at best. This update claims that it will change all of this. The following is a quote from Adobe's accessibility blog.

"The upcoming release of Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader will contain support for reading tagged PDF content with assistive technology on both Windows and Mac OS X. For the first time, Mac users will be able to use VoiceOver to create, edit and read accessible PDF documents."

In my opinion if this update is truly accessible it will be the most important advancement in the state of mac accessibility since Pages became more accessible.

The blog post claims that the update will be out in less then thirty days; I now have something to be more excited about then the Apple watch.



Submitted by Thomas Byskov Dalgaard on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

That sounds amazing. If this is true I will love it and use that for PDFs, but I will see how it turns out. Thank you so much for posting this! I will not install Adobe Reader until tis is confirmed, but fingers crossed, I hope it will be that huge gamechanger. Best regards Thomas

Submitted by Tree on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Your welcome, we all know that promises of accessibility don't always come to pass so I agree, lets hope and cross our fingers.

Submitted by Liz on Thursday, April 9, 2015

Let's cross our fingers indeed!
I'd be interested to hear from anyone if this does come to pass.

Submitted by Lucretia M. Brown on Thursday, May 28, 2015

I'll have to agree. If Adobe reader becomes accessible, that will save a lot of problems. Not to mention, it will save me a question once I am able to purchase my Macbook.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, May 28, 2015

I would not hold my breath. Adobe has not really improved and I'm not hearing good htings on the front of the adobe reader thing on osx from people who have used it. I'm never very hopeful on any platform in adobe's case.

Submitted by Elli on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Is the new adobe software accessible on the mac? I know adobe is not the best when it comes to accessibility, but it would be nice to know if anything has changed.

Submitted by Aaron on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

So I just tested reading a tagged PDF on my early-2013 Mac Book Pro running OS X 10.11.1 and the latest version of Acrobat Reader DC. What I found was that VO does now seem to read the tags in the PDF, but that if I tried to navigate using the headings it caused VO to crash/restart. I also checked and the headings do not appear in the rotor.

If I simply read through the document VO did announce headings, alt tags, self-descriptive links - all of which would be expected in a tagged PDF. I just couldn't navigate quickly to any of them and none of them appeared in the rotor. I tested this using multiple tagged PDFs and the same thing happened in each of them.

If anyone else wants to test and see if they get the same behavior, here is a link to a tagged PDF:…

If you want to read the contents using normal VO reading keys you need to first interact with the path\filename pane. I believe that it was intended for you to be able to use some VO shortcuts without interacting with the pane, because if you press the heading shortcut (command+control+option+h) without interacting with the pane it will move to a heading just before VO crashes and restarts.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I am not able to read using arrows it treated the whole document as a single block ... and btw VO was somewhat slow.

The way how reading a .pdf file works is like this interact with the users pain VoiceOver begins reading the document automatically.
it is odd but if you're willing too use it works.
It's better than PreView for sure because it's a step in the right direction. However what’s particularly is interesting is once you interact with the toolbar you find a mix of labeled and unlabeled buttons but overall I’d choose it over Preview it sure could use some tweaks.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, November 7, 2019

I hate the app actually. When I used it last year, the app would crash even with a simple pdf, it was clunkly and i could not actually read the document like I could in windows, in an html like view.