Re: for the third time, filling out a PDF


On Wed, May 18, 2022 at 02:22 PM, Chris Smart wrote:
Again, could we see the file for ourselves?
This, this, this - a thousand times, this.  The terminology "fillable form" (whether the file format is PDF or MS-Word) is one of the most ill-defined and misunderstood in all of computing.

Many seem to define (incorrectly) a fillable form as an electronic file format that allows you to open it and edit the content, which may include the various form field labels as well as the areas, usually a series of underscores, that act in precisely the same way as they do on a printed paper form.  That's not a fillable form, and it's certainly not reliably accessible because there are no form controls that cannot be edited by the end user accompanied by the edit boxes, checkboxes, radio button collections, etc., that should be fillable by the end user.

There are electronic files that have labels along with controls that are supposed to be fillable forms (and the IRS is notorious for these), where the behavior of traversing the form does not behave anything like one would expect it would.  For those of you who want to play with two simple examples, neither of which I consider to be accessible using Adobe Reader DC (which should allow the filling of forms - it certainly has in the past) see:  (version that's not claimed to be accessible, though it does behave as a "point and click" fillable form) (claims to be accessible, and though it does announce the various form fields and controls, you have to manually change mode to enter data, and traversing the form is a nightmare.  Checkboxes, though labeled, don't seem to be activatable (checkable/uncheckable) by the means I typically use when they occur on web forms or in fillable Word forms).

The following is offered as an example of how MS-Word fillable forms are created and used.  I realize that doesn't solve the problem here, but I've been preaching the gospel of accessible MS-Word fillable forms where each and every control is announced when you land in it, can be repeated if you hit the F1 key (sometimes with additional help when that might be needed), and is fully accessible whether a sighted, blind, or somewhere in between person is filling out the form on the computer.

Microsoft Word Accessible Fillable Forms Tutorials

Creating Accessible Microsoft Word Fillable Forms.docx

Converting a Fillable Word Form to a Document Whose Contents Can Be Copied or Edited.docx

Examples of MS-Word Accessible Fillable Forms

            Simple_Fillable_Form.dotx  (the one used in the tutorial on creating them)

            BusNoteForm.dotx  (actually used in a local school, but anonymized)


            Commercial #10 Envelope MS-Word Fillable Form Template

Every time I hear anyone on any of the various blind-centric technology groups mention fillable forms I want to scream, and not because they've mentioned them, but because most of the electronic "fillable forms" are not only often not truly fillable, but often are not accessible, either.

It is impossible to discuss anything in the abstract, really, when someone is having an issue with a form.  That form must be supplied (without anything filled in, of course) for potential assistants to try to determine what, exactly, they're dealing with.


Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H2, Build 19044  

You can't crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them.
     ~ Ursula LeGuin, The Dispossessed

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