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Chrome 85 will export tagged PDFs that aid screen reader accessibility

Over the weekend, Google marked the 30th anniversary for the ADA by highlighting various assistive features built into its products. The latest is coming to Chrome and generates tagged PDFs that are more accessible.

When most people “print” a webpage today, they are just using the “Save as PDF” option to make a local copy. Chrome will soon upgrade the file being saved to include information about the “structure of a document, including things like headings, lists, tables, paragraphs, and image descriptions.”

This tagged PDF, with its extra metadata, makes documents more accessible for users that require a screen reader. Other benefits include making it “easier for software that needs to automatically process and extract data from PDFs.”

By integrating this feature into Chrome, Google imagines that organizations can just rely on the web instead of dedicated third-party software:

By building this into Chrome, we’re hoping some organizations that already use HTML as part of their document workflow might be able to take advantage of this new functionality and generate compliant PDFs more easily.

The Chrome team worked with CommonLook and is leveraging its PDF Validator tool. This effort took two years, and the organization touts “significant progress.”

Chrome 85 will launch in late August with this feature, but it can be enabled with the following flag today in version 84:


Moving forward, Google will work to improve the quality of the tagged PDFs generated, while making sure Chrome’s built-in reader better supports reading the output.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: