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Tab and Reading Order

This article applies to: Web Accessibility

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The order in which content is presented or accessed needs to be defined for screen readers, keyboard navigation and small or zoomed in screens.

Tag order defines how screen readers will read the content. Tab order determines how users will tab through a document with their keyboard. This will also dictate how they navigate from one form field to the next. Reflow order determined the order content is presented on a mobile devise or zoomed in screen for people with poor vision.

LinkedIn Learning video Reading order.


In Word, use the column tool on the Page Layout ribbon to correctly define reading order.


LinkedIn Learning tutorial on Controlling reading order in InDesign

LinkedIn Learning tutorial on defining tab order for forms in InDesign

Adobe Acrobat

LinkedIn Learning tutorial on Setting Tab order in Acrobat DC.

LinkedIn Learning tutorial on Tagging content using the Order pane in Acrobat (for reflow reading order)

The tag order is defined in the tags panel and the reading order is defined in the reading order panel.


In the reading order, you may need to drag and drop elements.  Sometimes an element won't move to the position you want.  To fix this:

  • Try dragging other elements below an item you want to move up.
  • Try dragging other elements above an item you want to move down.
There is a bug where Acrobat will reorder elements in a different way than you intended, or may make elements seem to disappear. Save your work frequently because you cannot undo a reorder action.


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