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How do you tag page numbers?

May 22, 2009

Until I read an answer to a question on the WebAim email list concerning page numbers in PDF files, I always marked page numbers as artifacts. After thinking about the answer (yes, tag the page number as text and have it read first) and deciding it made sense, I began doing just that and told the folks working with me to do the same.

Then one of the folks working with me questioned this practice because he thought that the user might get confused when a page number was read in the middle of the paragraph when paragraphs spanned two pages. I suggested that instead of automatically having the page number read first, perhaps figuring out where it best fit in the context would be better — like when the paragraph ended. However, I wanted to ask around and see how others handled page numbers in PDF files.

I asked this question on Twitter and got this answer:

I do not tag page numbers. That doesn’t mean it’s right. My logic is that page numbers within the context of the document is out of context.

The question I ask myself is where in the context of the TAGS would a page number make sense?

Again I thought about it and decided that v made sense.

So, now I no longer tag page numbers as text because besides the logical arguments against it, it sometimes takes a long time.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2009 8:31 pm


    Boy, I hope you are keeping this up to date. I am sending your blog as a link to many OHS contractors who are learning to deal with 508 issues.

    This is an important resource you are creating.

    Thanks for putting in this effort,


  2. July 8, 2011 8:59 pm

    Hi Donna,
    Most AT users say they don’t need page numbers, they want them artifacted. Most screen reader users have the option to voice the page number at their discretion.

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