Reading order is important to consider for content that isn't linear. It applies to the more heavily visual layouts such as websites and PowerPoint presentations, as well as to PDF documents with columns, images, or forms. Setting the reading order allows text-to-speech or screen reading software to read the information in a logical order. It also ensures that links and form fields can be tabbed through sequentially for users who navigate with a keyboard or screen reader.

On the Accessibility Toolbar, select Reading Order (Acrobat DC) or TouchUp Reading Order (Acrobat XI).

TouchUp Reading Order

Your page should now have some numbers on it. These are the 'Tags' that determine the reading order. If the order is incorrect, select Show Order Panel on the TouchUp Reading Order window:

Show order panel

The Panel will show up on the left side of the document, where you can drag the items into the correct order. Note that documents converted from Microsoft Office will have all of the images at the bottom of the reading order, so they need to be manually edited.

Tags out of order

On the Home Ribbon, Select the Arrange drop-down menu.

Arrange dropdown menu on the Home Ribbon

Click on Selection Pane at the bottom of the Arrange menu.

Selection pane is the choice at the bottom of the drop-down menu

The Selection Pane will appear on the right side of the document. This lists each element on the slide and the order in which it will be read.

Important! The reading order starts at the bottom and moves upwards.

Click on an element in the Selection Pane to see the corresponding element highlighted in the slide.

In the following screenshot, the Title will not be read first, since it is not at the bottom of the list. Content Placeholder 2 will be read first.

Selection pane showing arrows for moving the elements into the correct order

To fix the reading order, Select Title 1 and Click the down arrow at the top right corner of the Selection pane to move it down to the bottom of the list.

Click on each item, going from bottom to top, and adjust the order as necessary. This process needs to be done on every slide.

Tip: Newer documents using slide layouts will be much less work than older documents that have been re-used and updated year after year. To save time on fixing the reading order, transfer your content to a new document made with a version 2013 template and slide layouts.

Tab Order

A web page should be navigable using only the Tab and Enter keys. Some users prefer to navigate using just the keyboard, while others may need to navigate your site without the use of a mouse.

To facilitate keyboard navigation, set the tab order of links and form elements so that each can be accessed in a logical, sequential order using tabindex = number.

See W3C form specifications under Tabbing Navigation for more information.