Tagged PDF feasibility study published

At the TUG 2020 online conference we announced the start of a multi-year project to automatically generate tagged PDF with LaTeX, which is an important aspect of producing “accessible” documents. Back then we promised that further information about the project is forthcoming.

We have now added the feasibility study (which was the starting point for the project) to this website:

LaTeX Tagged PDF Feasibility Evaluation Study

This forty-page document contains information about a multi-year project, started by the LaTeX Project Team in 2020, that will extend LaTeX to produce tagged, and hence accessible, PDF with minimal manual intervention. It explains in detail both the project goals and the tasks that need to be undertaken, concluding with a detailed project plan. It is our blueprint for for how we think the project should be undertaken.

The Introduction contains an overview of the benefits of the project and explains why LaTeX documents make a good starting point for the production of tagged PDF. More information about this blueprint and the project can be found in the article “LaTeX Tagged PDF — A blueprint for a large project” TUGboat, Volume 41-3 (2020), which will appear shortly.

The original version of this study dates from late 2019 and was addressed primarily to an audience within Adobe which consisted of engineers and managers with a wide knowledge of digital typography and electronic publishing but not necessarily much background within the specialized world of TeX, LaTeX and friends. This version of the study was updated in September 2020 with some minor redactions, corrections and clarifications.


In addition the TUGboat article referred to above is also available for reading:

LaTeX Tagged PDF — A blueprint for a large project

  • Frank Mittelbach
  • Chris Rowley
  • TUGboat 41:3, 2020
  • Abstract

    In Frank’s talk at the TUG 2020 online conference we announced the start of a multi-year project to enhance LaTeX to fully and naturally support the creation of structured document formats, in particular the “tagged PDF” format as required by accessibility standards such as PDF/UA.

    In this short article we outline the background to this project and some of its history so far. We then describe the major features of the project and the tasks involved, of which more details can be found in the Feasibility Study that was prepared as the first part of our co-operation with Adobe.

    This leads on to a description of how we plan to use the study as the basis for our work on the project and some details of our planned working methodologies, illustrated by what we have achieved so far and leading to a discussion of some of the obstacles we foresee.

    Finally there is also a summary of recent, current and upcoming activities on and around the project.


You will find both documents, as well as other documents about the “Tagged PDF Project” and related topics, on the PDF, Tagging and Accessibility page in the publications area of the site.