Introduction

InDesign Script to Automate Accessibility Tasks

InDesign Script to Automate Accessibility Tasks

As a trainer, I teach people how to create accessible PDF files from several different products. One of those products, which is my personal favourite due to my background in graphic design, is Adobe InDesign. One of the things I like about InDesign is the control it allows the user from both a creative and accessibility standpoint. By adding the appropriate features in InDesign, I can generate a PDF file that is very accessible.

Adding the aforementioned appropriate features can sometimes be a bit time-consuming. With each document being different and created uniquely, you have to interpret what’s required and implement them into each document. One day I was having a conversation with my friend Keith Gilbert. I told him about some of the struggles I often encounter when setting up an InDesign document for accessibility. I casually asked him if there was any way we could script some of these tasks. Keith, who is a talented scripter, quickly replied, “Absolutely!” 

So, I sat down and started writing all of the things I typically have to do. Then, I started making notes about how they could be automated and sent them over to Keith. The next day, he sent me back a script that did exactly what I needed the script to do! After running it on a few files, I thought of a couple more things. And so we went back and forth a few times until we had a script that I could run on any document, which automated several of the tasks with the click of a button. 

There's a video of the script in action at the bottom of this post. 

Keith and I talked for a while and finally decided that this script could benefit many people and decided to make it available free of charge. So, what exactly does the script do, you ask?

  • It checks to see if a Title has been defined, and if not, displays a dialogue where you can enter one.
  • Searches all of your Paragraph Styles for anything called title, head, heading, subhead followed by a number and maps it to the appropriate export tag.
  • Notifies you if any placed graphics are missing alternate text.
  • It removes alternate text from any image marked as an artifact.
  • Any placed image that contains the word “artifact” in the filename will automatically mark that image in the InDesign layout as an artifact.

If you’d like a copy of the script, you can download it from Keith’s website. It’s called Check Document for Accessibility, and I hope you find it as helpful as I do. Also, feel free to let me know your thoughts on the script by emailing me at cchelius@abledocs.com

Enjoy!

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