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Disability Accommodations

PDF Access

To make PDF files Accessible, Real Text is Needed

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software (free software download) is needed to open PDF files. 

For persons with disabilities who rely on screen readers (assistive technology that reads text for students), many PDF documents are not accessible because what appears to be text is really just an image or a picture of text. Converting the image to real text makes PDF documents accessible.

Step 1: Check PDF document to see if it has real text by using one of the options

To determine if a PDF document is accessible for individuals using assistive technology, find out if the file has real text. Use one of the options to check for real text:

Option 1: Adobe Acrobat Reader DC has built-in Accessibility Checks that allows you to perform a test to see if a file has real text. On the Document menu, click Accessibility Quick Check. If you get a message that says, “This document appears to contain no text,” then real text should be added (See Step 2).

Option 2:  Try to select or highlight text (using the mouse) the PDF document. If text is successfully selected or highlighted, the document has real text. If not, then real text must be added (See Step 2).

Step 2. Add Real Text to a PDF file by choosing one of the options:

Option 1: Using Adobe Acrobat Professional or Standard software

  1. Open the document using the software Adobe Acrobat Professional or Standard.
  2. On the Document menu, click OCR Text Recognition, and then click Recognize Text Using OCR, which will start the process of adding real text to the document. This process may take several minutes.
  3. Save the document after the text has been added.
  4. To ensure that real text has been added, complete one of the options in Step 1.

Option 2: Making PDF Documents Accessible using Scan2Text software. Scan2Text is located on computers in Cook Library’s Learning Commons on the first floor. See the Technology Information Desk for computer locations.

  1. Open Word 2007.
  2. On the Menu select for the Scan2Text.
  3. Choose Scan from file. Each page will take a short time to convert.
  4. Once the conversion is complete it will open in a Word 2007 file. Then save the document.
  5. To preview the converted document and/or delete any unnecessary information, choose Preview Scan from File. To remove unnecessary information: Choose the desired text and press the delete key. 
  6. Then select the "OK, Send to Word" button.

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