Knowledgebase: Software
Creating Accessible PDFs (Faculty/Staff/Students)
Posted by Christy Mattingly on 07 April 2016 12:42 PM

How to Create Accessible PDFs:

It is important to create accessible PDF files for anyone who needs or find it helpful to use screen reading software. Some people can only interface with a PDF by using a screen reader and others may find it helpful for concentrating or increase consumption of large amounts of text by listening.



Faculty working on Macs must use RDP or go to a Windows computer in order to preserve links within Word documents when saving as a PDF. Otherwise, the links will not be live in the PDF file.


  1. Create and save the original file as a Word document.
  2. Be certain to add ALT text to images and shapes.
  3. Select "File > Save As" and change the "Save as type:" field to "PDF".
  4. An accessible PDF with ALT text tags on images will be created.
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Campus Scanners

Augsburg printers provide the capability to scan a document and email it to yourself as an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) PDF file. The OCR means the file will be converted to text as opposed to an image. Find the scanners capable of OCR on

Use Read Write Software

Download this software to convert image-based texted (scanned as picture) to actual text (readable and searchable). Learn more about how to install Read Write software. Please also refer to this guide on how to use Read Write software for Windows.

Testing for Accessibility

  • Can a sentence be selected with the cursor? If not, then the PDF is probably an image which cannot be read by a screen reader.
  • Can you search the PDF? If not, it is probably an image.
  • Does text appear when a picture is clicked to indicate the ALT text field has a description?
  • When opened in a program such as Natural Reader, is the content readable?


Last Modified: 2020/03/19

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