InDesign Reading Order

InDesign does not automatically assign the correct reading order. If you have a document with a lot of layers, floating objects, and other elements, chances are that InDesign will export things in the wrong order. The authors need to specify the correct reading order.

Specify the Reading Order in the Articles Panel

  1. To specify the reading order, open the Articles Panel from the main menu under Window > Articles.
    Screenshot of the reading order item in the Windows menu

    This will open the Articles Panel, which will be blank at first.
    Screenshot of the articles panel
  2. You need to add each object to the Articles Panel, in the correct order. Make sure the pointer cursor is activated first.
    Screenshot of the pointer cursor
  3. You can drag the objects from the page into the Articles Panel one at a time, or you can hold down the Shift key, select each item on the page in the correct order, then drag the group of them into the Articles panel.In the example below, you would select the document title first, then the main text. The image should already be anchored to a location in the content. The text box in the middle could also be anchored to a place in the content, or you could select it as a separate object to be read out of the flow of the main text. We’ll assume in this case that the text in the middle is meant to be read separately, so it is not anchored to the main text. We’ll make the text in the middle appear last in the reading order.
    Screenshot of the document with all its various objects
  4. After dragging them in, each object will appear in a list, in the order that screen readers will read them. You can reorder the items in the Article list by dragging and dropping them within the list.
    Screenshot of the items in the Articles panel

    Repeat this process for each page in the document.