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Create accessible formulas with axesWord

Background knowledge

For a formula to be accessible, a "Formula" structure element must be created in the logical structure tree and an alternative text must be defined. This alternative text is usually the linearized version of the formula. Below you can see an example (PAC preview):

PAC-Preview of a Formula

Step-by-step instructions

axesWord® currently does not support formulas created with the Word formula editor. The formula must be inserted either as a picture or as plain text within a text frame.

Option 1: Insert formula as a picture

  1. Insert a formula using the Word formula editor:
    In Word click on the Insert tab, then on the Equation button and select a formula. 
    Word: Formula, the Pythagorean theorem
  2. Then create an image file of the formula:
    To do this, select the formula, right-click and then click on the Copy menu option (or create an image of the formula in another way, for example using a screenshot).
  3. Paste the formula as a graphic by right-clicking on the corresponding position in the document and then click on the symbol for pasting a picture.
    Word: Insert context menu
  4. Assign the role Formula to the picture of the formula in the axesWord - role mapping pane.
  5. Enter the linearized form of the formula in the Alternative text field (in the axesWord - role mapping pane).
    • To do this, confirm the Linear menu option in the context menu of the formula.
      Word-Formula with context menu; option 'Linear' highlighted
    • Copy the text that Word now displays... 
      Word-Formula in linearized form
      ...and paste it into the Alternative text field. You should get this result:
      Formula as picture and axesWord-rolemapping
  6. Finally, delete the Word formula, so that only the picture of the formula remains.

Option 2: Insert formula as plain text in a text box

  1. Insert a text box into your document in Word (click on the Insert tab and then click the Text Box button) and write the formula as plain text in the text box.
  2. Assign the role Formula to the text box in the axesWord - role mapping task pane.
  3. Enter the linearized form of the formula in the Alternative text field.

The result should now look like this:

Formula in a text box and axesWord-rolemapping

Note: Only use the layout option In line with text  for text boxes if the formula is within a line with other text. Otherwise, the PDF/UA warning message ‘Possible inappropriate use of the structure element “Formula”’ will appear.

Tip: You can remove the frame lines of the text box by right-clicking on the text box and selecting Format Shape... option.


Alternative: axesWord with third party tools

There is currently an alternative procedure, but you will need an additional programme for entering alternative texts in PDF documents:

  1. First insert a text box into your document.
  2. Then use the Word formula editor to insert a formula into the text box.
  3. No role mapping for the text box is necessary (do not change the role Default).
  4. Create a PDF document with axesWord®. You will get the PDF/UA issue that alternative texts for Formula structure elements are missing.
  5. Now add the alternative text to the formula structure element in the PDF document. To do this, you will need Acrobat Pro DC or axesPDF®, for example.