While PDFs are convenient and are a great way to preserve document formatting, they are not always compatible with screen reading software, which is essential for the visually impaired. Documents need to be converted to PDF in a way that allows text to be recognized as text, rather than a picture of text.
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OCR (optical character recognition) for PDF's
With the PDF open in Adobe Acrobat, click the Tools button in the upper right part of the window. (Note: Adobe Acrobat can be downloaded in the SPU Software Center. Adobe Reader does not provide the following functions.)
From Tools in the upper right hand area of the window, there is a tab labeled Text Recognition. Clicking it will expand the options.
Click In This File to have Acrobat automatically attempt to apply optical character recognition. You can do this in bulk by selecting In Multiple Files.
After a successfully running this function you should be able to highlight individual text within the document.
To ensure that the automatic conversion was accurate, click the Find All Suspects button. This will highlight instances where the program couldn't 100% verify accuracy and will allow you to confirm or deny the assumptions that were made.
Tips for Documents Scanned Into a PDF
If scanning a physical document (for example, a chapter from a text book), ensure that the device used for scanning is streak and dust free before use. Make sure the pages are lined up straight on the scanner.
Once a document is uploaded onto your computer, adjustments can be made for easy viewing. For example, pressing Shift+Ctrl+R will rotate the page, allowing you to make it right side up if it scanned incorrectly.
Once the document is opened in Adobe Acrobat, click pres Ctrl+K to open preferences. From here, there is an Accessibility tab with many options for improving the document, such as contrast adjustment and auto-zoom.
You will then need to OCR (optical character recognition) the scanned document using Adobe Acrobat Pro, or another OCR software.
If you are printing a PDF from a Word document, be sure to use the appropriate headings for your text, as those headings will carry over to the PDF document.