Tech Update - Titles in PDF documents

30 Jan 2019

This week in the Sitemorse support team have been looking at titles in PDF documents. Helen Grimbly, Support Lead at Sitemorse will take us through the importance of using titles in these documents and how to update them.

Helen Grimbly

Helen Grimbly, Support Lead

The title of a page (including PDFs) is used by screen readers to work out what the page is about. Without a title, a user accessing the page via a screen reader will have difficulty knowing what the page is about. Search engines also look at titles and therefore a missing title will impact the placement of the page in search results.

First ensure the document Title in the PDF is set.

  • Download the PDF and open it in Adobe Acrobat.
  • Then click File -> Properties dialog -> Description tab.
  • Add a short Title in the Title field. Please note Description for the document can also be added which can further improve screen reader use and search engine results.

The PDF 'show' Document Title should then be set. 

  • Open the PDF Document in Adobe Acrobat, click File -> Properties dialog -> Initial View tab.
  • There is a 'Window Options' field called 'Show' - set the drop down option to 'Document Title', and click OK bottom right.
  • The PDF document title will then be set and this error will be resolved.

PDFs without titles are reported on in the Accessibility Section of a Sitemorse Report under WCAG 2.1 Level A under the diagnostic: PDF18 - Specifying the document title using the Title entry in the document information dictionary of a PDF document 

Please note, Title and Description can also be set in a document in MS Word and then the document exported to PDF. In this case ensure that the PDF in Adobe Acrobat has the 'Show' field set as described above.