How To: Convert a Scanned PDF Document to a Text-Selectable PDF

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Documents converted to PDF through scanning are typically image-only, meaning they do not have selectable text. Image-Only PDF documents are not easily read by screen reader users. Be sure, when you can, to back-up and keep the original digital document (such as the original Word Document, PowerPoint Presentation, Excel Spreadsheet, etc...) to avoid the need to scan a paper copy in the future. To convert a scanned document to a more accessible PDF follow the steps below:

  1. Open the PDF Document into Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
  2. Expand the menu on the right-hand side of the screen. It will reveal options such as "Create PDF", "Edit PDF", etc...
    • Select the bottom option of "More Tools" which is an icon of a wrench floating above a plus symbol within a circle.
      • Under the heading "Protect & Standardize" locate the "Accessibility" option and "Add"
        • This will provide the Accessibility options on your default list of actions for your computer.
      • Under the "Customize" options also select Add for the "Action Wizard".
    • After adding both tool sets select the "Action Wizard" tool and then the option "Make Accessible."
      • This will run a set of tools: adding document metadata, recognizing the text within the document, recognizing form fields, setting the primary language of the document, auto-tagging, and adding alternative text to images within the document.
      • The last set will run a full Accessibility Check to address other issues that need manual review.
        • Note: Save your work often when addressing these report areas, there is no undo function.
  3. Listen to your document:
    • Select the View menu and then the "Read Out Loud" option.
      • Activate "Read Out Loud" (you can also use the keyboard shortcut Shift + Control + Y)
      • After activation either read each individual page (Shift + Control + V) or the whole document (Shift + Control + B).

Note: Blackboard Ally within Canvas provides an Optical Character Recognized (OCR) version of image-only PDF Documents as an alternative format as well as other alternatives. Blackboard Ally can be enabled for a Canvas course upon the request of the instructor using the Assistive Technology Services request form.

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Article ID: 67543
Created
Wed 11/21/18 11:45 AM
Modified
Fri 7/10/20 1:34 PM