A PDF is considered accessible if it has been edited so that the text is recognized
as individual characters and not just an “image” of a page of text. This process of
recognizing individual characters is called Optical Character Recognition or OCR.
Find Accessible PDF Files
We are very lucky to have the wonderful resource of the Van Wylen Library. When developing your course, check to see if the articles, books or other printed material you plan to use are already in an accessible format at the library. In general, if you can highlight the individual words, it is accessible to most people. The other option is to download the PDF and run an accessibility check on it through Adobe Acrobat Pro. If you are unsure whether a resource is accessible, feel free to send it our way.
Scan Printed MATERIAL
When you need to scan printed materials to make a digital copy, consider using the Scannx Book Scanner at the library. The Scannx is great for small to medium books and there are multiple ways of receiving your scan once you are finished.
Things to keep in mind
You want the text to be as straight and level as possible. If there is a curve or slant in the scan, a screen reader or low vision student is going to have a harder time reading the information. This might mean that you would have to rescan the document to make it accessible.
For best results, make sure the original text is free from highlights, underlines and words in the margin. We know that there will be situations where you cannot avoid these things so let us know if you or your students run into issues.
Steps for using the Scannx
- Click or tap on “Touch here to begin.”
- Choose how you would like to receive your scan. We recommend that you log into your 1Hope email and use your Google Drive.
- Select the properties of your scan. Make sure to choose “Searchable PDF.”
- Pick whether your material is a document or book.
- Begin the scan. You can activate a scan by either clicking on the “Scan” button on the computer screen, pressing the levers on the scanner’s bed or tapping on the foot pedal on the floor.
- After each scanned page, review the image to make sure it is readable.
- Once you have scanned all of your pages, select “deliver” in the bottom right corner of the screen. This will bring you to a screen where you can name your file. If you are using Google Drive to receive the file, you can select which folder it will be saved in.
Scanning printed material with the Scannx is a great way to get things started. Depending on your students’ needs, you might need to add alternative text to images, edit tags and set up the reading order.
Existing PDF Files
If you currently have a PDF that is inaccessible, you can fix this by using Adobe Acrobat Pro. All faculty and staff have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro. If you do not already have it setup on your computer, please reach out to CIT.
Within Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can run an accessible check on your PDF. This check will highlight all of the accessibility issues with your PDF and give you ways to fix these issues. If you would like to learn more, check out PDF Remediation Basics (YouTube) by the University of Alabama.