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Validate WCAG, Section 508, HTML, CSS, Links, and Spelling

Using an extension

Start the Total Validator application and set the validation options in the usual way. Then browse to the page you wish to validate and click the Total Validator icon on your browser toolbar to start the validation.

picture of the chrome toolbar

Alternatively select the appropriate option from the context menu (right click the page):

picture of the chrome context menu

Depending on which option you've chosen the extension will either send the URL of the current page, the DOM, or the source of the page to the Total Validator application to validate it. With Total Validator Pro you can validate multiple pages this way with just one click.

When the validation runs the application will automatically minimise or shrink to the System Tray to keep it out of the way.

picture of Total Validator in the system tray

If you wish to start Total Validator already minimised, such as when starting your computer, then use the Start Minimised menu option.


Extension options

To access and set the available options for the extension use the context menu, or right mouse click the toolbar icon and choose 'Options'.

Toolbar icon action: Use this option to set what to send to the Total Validator application when you use the toolbar icon to start a validation. You can choose these three options individually when using the context menu.

Send URL: Select this option to send the url of the current page to the Total Validator application for testing. This is equivalent to entering a starting page in the application and running it in the normal way.

Send DOM: Normally Total Validator validates the web page before any javascript has been run. If your page uses javascript to modify the page, then select this option to send the page after any initial javascript has run. Also selecting this option allows us to perform additional testing, such as contrast testing. The source in this case is not a 'real' web page but is generated from your browser's DOM, so you may see some issues that do not exist in the original web page, and line numbers will often differ. Note: With this option broken links can only be checked if you have the Pro version.

Send source: If for any reason 'Send URL' does not work for you (e.g. some unsupported authentication system is protecting pages), then you can browse to the page and select this option to send the source of the current web page for validation instead. Note: With this option broken links can only be checked if you have the Pro version.

Listen port: This is set to 9889 by default. It is the 'TCP port' that the Total Validator application listens to for requests from the browser extension to validate pages. Whatever you enter here must match the value you've entered in the application. Any number in the range 1-65535 is valid, but you must choose one that does not conflict with any other service you use.

Debug: Normally this should not be selected. It should only be used when advised by Support as it will display alert messages that will slow down the validation process.

Skip URL check: Normally this should not be selected. It should only be used when advised by Support.

Validating multiple source pages with Total Validator Pro

With the Pro version 'Send DOM' and 'Send source' will automatically step through your site just like 'Send URL', and validate as many pages as you wish.

You will see each page being displayed in your browser in turn and then on completion the original page will be displayed, and a new tab opened with the results.

When validating this way, you should try to avoid using your browser and never attempt to start a new validation whilst a current one is still executing. Always use the Cancel button on the progress window to cancel first, otherwise you may get unexpected and confusing results.

When validating DOM-generated source, you will need to slow the process down so that any initial javascript has fully run before the page is sent to the application. For this, use the Page pause option which will add a delay after loading each page, before sending the DOM to the application.



If you have a problem that isn't covered below then complete the feedback form to report it. Don't forget to leave a valid email address where you can be contacted.

Could not contact the Total Validator application

If this message appears then you may have simply forgotten to start the Total Validator application.

Alternatively, the firewall on your computer may have been configured to block Total Validator from accepting connections from extensions: When starting Total Validator, you may have seen a message about allowing incoming connections to either Total Validator or Java and decided to deny these. In this case you will have to amend your firewall to allow them again.

Total Validator only listens for local connections from your browser, and only on a specific 'port'. This 'Listen port' may already be being used by another service preventing the application from listening. Usually you will see a message when starting the application if this is the case. If necessary, you can change the 'Listen port' in the Options of the application and update the options page in the extension to match, as described above.

Browser needs to be manually started

When starting a DOM validation from the Total Validator application, we have found that on some systems and with some browsers, the browser must already be running for the validation to start. So please try again with the browser already open.

Validation failed

If this message appears then there may be a conflict between Total Validator and some other service. You can change the 'Listen port' in the Options of the application and update the options page in the extension to match, as described above.

Could not retrieve source of page

If this message appears then the page you are trying to validate has unexpectedly disappeared from the web server, or is no longer visible due to authentication issues. Try reloading the pages and repeating the validation.

Could not contact the content script

If this message appears after you have just installed or enabled the extension then you may need to reload pages in your browser before you can validate them.

If you wish to use any Chrome extension with pages beginning with file://, you must tell Chrome that it is okay to do so:

  • In Chrome open a new tab and go to chrome://extensions
  • Locate the Total Validator extension
  • Check the box next to "Allows access to file URLs"
  • Restart Chrome to ensure this setting is applied

Nothing happens

Chrome: Go to chrome://extensions, check the 'Developer Mode' checkbox, find the Total Validator extension and click the 'Inspect views: background page' link, then look at the 'Console' tab for any error messages.

Firefox: Open the browser console (Ctrl-Shift-J) and look for any of the messages above, or other messages mentioning Total Validator which may explain the issue.

Multi-page validation cancels before finishing

When validating multiple pages of source or DOM-generated source, it may self-cancel before completing. This can be due to security restrictions of the website. The last page attempted should still be displayed in your browser: Press F12 and look at the 'Console' tab for any error messages which may explain why it failed.

Browser continues multi-page validation after cancelling it, or after an error

When validating multiple pages of source or DOM-generated source and you try to cancel, and in some rare error situations, the browser may keep on validating, possibly opening multiple tabs. Immediately close your browser and/or Total Validator to stop this.