How to create tagged PDF such that they will be:

  1. good enough for PDF/UA
  2. "reflowable" on smaller screens and ebook readers

Any syntax & any engine are of interest, but I'm most interested in using LaTeX with [Xe|pdf]latex engines.

  • 2
    I've heard that this isn't possible with pdftex as it is, though I think it would be a fantastic benefit. Jul 29, 2010 at 15:26
  • 5
    It is said that ConTeXt mkiv can create tagged pdf. See wiki.contextgarden.net/Release_Notes (and search for tagged pdf) or ask on the mailing list.
    – topskip
    Feb 13, 2011 at 16:19
  • 2
    Though tagging PDFs seems useful, I think the idea of reflowable text is a bad idea, certainly in the original context of TeX and LaTeX. The original idea was that a book designer knows best what a good layout looks like. In such an environment, the author should be able to check out the exact final appearance of the document long before it arrives on the final device. Reflowing would break that. Now I am not so much of a purist to gainsay the usefulness of reflowable text: I am reading it right now. But don't tools like web browsers and electronic books do this well enough now? Feb 20, 2012 at 17:41
  • 2
    @BillCheswick that's the whole poing - electronic books. I want my pdf to look stunning when printed & I want to be able to reread it on my kindle/kobo/etc with text reflowing such that I can read it normally! Also it's a question about accessibility, you want reflow tags for screen-readers.
    – Dima
    May 24, 2012 at 13:06
  • 1
    @Bill Cheswick: The 'UA' in PDF/UA is for 'universal accessibility'. At the time you asked, it was not yet an official standard. Meanwhile it is (since a few weeks ago). Jul 7, 2012 at 17:46

3 Answers 3


Ross Moore talked about tagged pdf at TUG 2010:

He mentioned that he uses an "extension" of pdfTeX, but I don't know the details. There would certainly need to be a lot of work done to transform the structure of a LaTeX document into a form that a re-flowable PDF viewer could take advantage of.

  • 2
    This question was answered in 2010. Since then I hope there has been more work done on this and that there may be some real solutions. I asked a related question in July 2013 here. Maybe if there are some updates, they could be posted there? Jul 20, 2013 at 15:52
  • 6
    Did someone find any answer, its 2015. Can we create a PDF/a complaint pdf with LaTeX ?
    – Ibn Saeed
    May 5, 2015 at 9:14
  • 2
    @IbnSaeed Maybe you want to look at the pdfx package.
    – xuhdev
    Feb 24, 2016 at 0:11

The short answer as of 2020 is that tagged PDF is not possible with LaTeX.

There are several approaches under more or less active development to resolve this:

  • Ross is working on his package/script but it is unofficial.

  • Andy has released package accessibility but the created tags are flawed in a way you just get a blank screen in reflow.

  • Ulrike has released package tagpdf but it's experimental and not meant for document production.

You may get a different answer for plain pdfTeX (note: without La) but for a majority this will be too complicated. Hopefully we can modify this answer in a few years.


I also read, that in the future, the LaTeX Core Team plans to provide functionality required for "tagged PDFs", first as an Add-on and later integrated into the kernel itself. Before this is implemented, I understood that it is nearly impossible to provide a working solution without restrictions, breakage or manual tagging/adjustments as also stated in the answer above.

Source: Quo vadis LaTeX(3) Team — A look back and at the upcoming years

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