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Introduction to MadeToTag

MadeToTag is a plug-in for InDesign CS5.5 that extends Indesign's capabilities to structure content for export to a tagged PDF. Among other aspects, MadeToTag takes advantage of the "Articles" panel and makes it possible to use it in a much faster and more reliable way. Content that has been organized into articles can be exported to tagged PDF very easily. In addition to organizing the content into articles, it is also necessary to assign standard tag types to paragraph style sheets, to add alternate text to images, or to use the InDesign table of content feature to create bookmarks in the exported PDF.

Some features in the current MadeToTag public beta are still missing or incomplete. For example, there is no decent support for organizing anchored object groups well or to quickly create proper hyperlinks. It is also still necessary in the public beta, to fix two issues in the exported PDF in Acrobat Pro, namely to set the document default language and to set the tabbing order inside PDF pages such that it follows the tagged document structure. Both are easy to fix though in Acrobat Pro.

Install MadeToTag using the downloaded installer

MadeToTag requires InDesign CS5.5 (also called InDesign 7.5). It does not work in earlier versions of InDesign. If you are using an older version of InDesign and do not wish to update yet, it is possible to download a 30 day trial version from the Adobe website at (or just search for "download adobe indesign trial" on the web - make sure to always only download from an Adobe website!).

MadeToTag shows up under the "Window" menu

MadeToTag shows up under the "Window" menu.

Open Articles panel and MadeToTag panel, dock MadeToTag panel to Articles panel

As most of the time you will use MadeToTag in conjunction with the Articles panel, you should open both panels and dock the MadeToTag panel to the bottom of the Articles panel. Now, whenever you work on structuring your document just open MadeToTag (or the Articles panel), and both panels will open at the same time.

Preparation - Step 1: Assign standard tags to paragraph styles

Before organizing the content of our InDesign document into articles, a few preparatory steps need to be taken. One such step is that paragraph styles must be mapped to standard tags.

Paragraph Styles panel -> Flyput menu "Edit All Export Tags..."

Edit All Export Tags in the Paragraph Styles panel opens a dialog with a list of all paragraph styles.

Assign standard tags to paragraph styles

Assign a standard tag to each of the paragraph styles with the following exception
- Paragraph styles used to format lists should be set to [Automatic] - InDesign will then do the right thing when exporting the document to tagged PDF

All other paragraphs should be set to "P" for text paragraphs, or to H1, H2, etc. for headings, where H1 is the highest heading level, H2 the second heading level and so forth.

If there is a paragraph style for text that is to be considered an artefact – like the page numbering or a page header – use "Artefact" for that paragraph. Just in case you were wondering; in British English the spelling "artefact" is used, whereas in American English "artifact" is used.

Note: the screenshot shows list of export tags for export to PDF. As for export to EPUB and HTML also the character styles can be assigned to tags, a separate tags list is maintained under the "EPUB and HTML" radio button. If you plan to export your structured InDesign document also to EPUB or HTML, you may want to repeat the procedure described here to assign EPUB/HTML tags to your paragraph and character styles.

Tip: As you will quickly realize, it will make your work more efficient if you name your style sheets such that they indicate what the right standard tag is for them. So instead of having "Body text" you might use "Body text (P)". Once you have style sheets like "Important heading", assigning and controlling standard tags is much easier if the style sheets were named "Important heading (H2)" (assuming it is intended to be a level 2 heading. Keep in mind that InDesign does not let you use names for style sheets that use [square brackets].

While you are at it - and especially if you also consider exporting to EPUB - you may want to do the same exercise for "EPUB and HTML" standard tags.

Preparation - Step 2: Activate "Use Reading Order in Tagged PDF"

Previous versions of InDesign offered (and InDesign CS5.5 still does) a tagging feature based on XML. InDesign CS5.5 in addition offers an "Articles" based tagging feature. In order for InDesign to make use of the Articles based tagging, it is necessary to activate the option "Use Reading Order in Tagged PDF" in the Articles panel, as otherwise the Article based structuring will not have the intended effect in the exported tagged PDF.