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Heading Structure

How to correct the heading structure for an accessible PDF in Word, InDesign, or Acrobat.

This article applies to: Web Accessibility

Headings allow screen reader users to read only the headings in order to get an overview of the content and to navigate directly to the part they want to read. Headings should follow a logical structure H1 – H6.  Titles for documents should be H1. Headings can also act as Bookmarks.

Do not skip heading levels! For example, do not jump from H2 to H4.  Skipping levels tells the screen reader user that there is missing content on your page.


  1. Select your heading text.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, select a heading style, for example, Heading 1 or Heading 2.

InDesign tutorial on Understanding InDesign styles.

Adobe Acrobat

  1. Select the TouchUp Reading Order Tool.
  2. If the element is not tagged, use the mouse to select the entire element.
Tip: Drag your mouse over a larger area than the text you are selecting.
  1. Right click or Ctrl click on the element.
  2. Select Tag as Heading for the level you want. (Mac users may not see Tag as Heading, but will be able to select the appropriate heading level.)

About this Article

Last updated: 

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 12:42pm

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