February is PDF Conversion Month – Moving Ally Gauges from Red to Green: The College at Brockport

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February is PDF Conversion Month – Moving Ally Gauges from Red to Green

If you have PDFs in Blackboard that are showing a low (red) level of accessibility, you may be able to fix them using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. You can often fix a document’s accessibility with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and a few simple steps

Step 1: Is There a Better Way to Get the Item?

1) Search Drake Memorial Library to see if you can get your students to an online version.

a. To do this, begin by typing the title into the search box on the library homepage and/or by searching your preferred database.

2) If the library has access, reach out to askdrake@brockport.edu to find out the best way to get the material into your course.

Step 2: OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and Adobe’s Accessibility Checker

1) Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro. Note: If you do not already have Pro, call the IT Service Desk at (585)395-5151 and select option 1, or put in a ticket through the IT Service Desk under Quicklinks.

2) Click Tools on the top left. Scroll down and add both “Action Wizard” and “Accessibility.”

3) Open “Action Wizard” and a new menu appears to the right. Click “Make Accessible,” and then “Start.” The following will help you with the prompts.

a. Add at least a title if one does not exist in the box that pops up. You may need to uncheck “Leave as is.”

b. Next, the Wizard tries to recognize the text. You will need to choose a language. Leave “Searchable image” and “600dpi.”

c. If you just need to post the PDF to Blackboard for students to read, you can choose “No, Skip this Step” instead of creating a fillable form.

d. To add alternative text to images, fill in as best you can with descriptions like “Portrait of [Author]” or “Weeping Willow, by Claude Monet” when prompted.

e. If you cannot tell which image you are adding text to (i.e. it is not highlighted), skip this step for now by clicking “Save and Close.” Don’t worry, you will get another chance to add alternative text.

4) Once the full check is complete, a new menu will appear on the left to show what issues may still exist in the document.

a. Expand any list that is in bold type by clicking the plus sign. Right click any error and choose “Fix” or “Explain” from the list. Fix will allow you to add alternative text if you have not already done so. Explain opens Adobe’s online documentation about accessibility, which is extensive and fairly easy to follow.

Two issues will always appear because they need a manual check – Logical Reading Order and Color Contrasts. For help with these, please see Adobe’s online documentation.

Additional resources may be found at the ASIS web page and in the Brockport Training organization on your Blackboard dashboard.





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