Scanning an Accessible PDF/A Document

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Scanning an Accessible PDF/A Document on a Windows PC

Learn how to create a highly accessible PDF document using the FITC scanner and Acrobat Pro on a PC.
  1. Background
  2. Creating the PDF
  3. Refining

Background

The goal of our accessible PDF initiative is to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The requirements are threefold:
  1. No files saved as images, including .JPG, .GIF, .PPT and untagged PDFs.
  2. All files accepted as .DOC, .TXT and tagged PDFs.
  3. A clean document copy (no extraneous writing, nothing underlined, etc.)
Making a PDF which features proper structure and tags is easy. Just follow this guide.

Creating the PDF File

First, insert the document into the scanner. Ensure that the scanner is powered on (look for the green light), the document is face-down, and the corner of the document aligns with the back-right corner of the scanner, as marked.

Step 1
From Adobe Acrobat Pro, select File > Create PDF > From Scanner > New Grayscale Document.

create pdf -> from scanner -> grayscale

Note: Depending on the condition of the paper, a Grayscale document may present smudging. or unclear text. If that is the case, try making a Black & White Document.

You're now presented with a preview of the PDF. If you're content with its appearance, click File > Save to make a copy on the computer.


Refining the PDF

It's now necessary to scan through the file and automatically recognize text for accessibility purposes. This allows screen readers and similar software to analyze the text in a document.

Step 2
In Acrobat Pro click Document > OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text Using OCR.

Document -> OCR text recognition -> recognize text

At this point, we must add tags. PDF Tags are used to describe the logical structure of a document to aceessibility readers. They're generally used to define different sections of a document. Just as this page has three separate sections, a PDF's sections must be also defined if they are to be fully accessible.

Step 3
Click Advanced > Accessibility > Add Tags to Document.

Advanced -> Accessibility -> Add Tags to Document

Step 4
After reviewing the document structure, make changes if necessary, using the TouchUp Reading Order Tool under Tools > Advanced Editing.

Follow the on-screen instructions and numbers to define the structural flow of your document to your liking.

Tools -> Advanced Editting -> TouchUp Reading Order Tool

Step 5
If your document has images alternative text must be added, To do this select Tools then Advanced Editing and finally select TouchUp Object Tool. Now Right Click on the image and select properties. Click on the tags tab, and fill out the Alternative Text with a meaningful description of the picture.

Step 6 Export as PDF/A format.

File -> Export -> PDF/A

Step 7
Test the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Are you able to highlight text? If accessibilty is highly important to the file you are creating, test the file with NVDA. NVDA is an open source screen reader comparable to JAWS.

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Scanning an Accessible PDF/A Document on a Mac

Learn how to create a highly accessible PDF document using the FITC scanner and Acrobat Pro on a Mac.
  1. Background
  2. Creating the PDF
  3. Refining

Background

The goal of our accessible PDF initiative is to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The requirements are threefold:
  1. No files saved as images, including .JPG, .GIF, .PPT and untagged PDFs.
  2. All files accepted as .DOC, .TXT and tagged PDFs.
  3. A clean document copy (no extraneous writing, nothing underlined, etc.)
Making a PDF which features proper structure and tags is easy. Just follow this guide.

Creating the PDF file

First, insert the document into the scanner. Ensure that the scanner is powered on (look for the green light), the document is face-down, and the corner of the document aligns with the back-right corner of the scanner, as marked.

Step 1

Scan the document with Adobe Acrobat Pro. To do this, click File > Create PDF > From Scanner... file -> Create PDF -> From Scanner

We now have to configure the scanner software to create a good PDF copy.

Step 2

Create a PDF file from the scanner.
  1. Select EPSON Perfection 4490
  2. Check Make Searchable (Run OCR)
  3. Check PDF/A Compliant
  4. Click Scan
set settings and hit OK

Step 3

The EPSON Scan screen will now appear.
  1. Auto exposure type: Document, not Paragraph
  2. Select 8-bit Greyscale
  3. Select a resolution of 300 DPI
  4. Click Scan
set settings and hit scan

Step 4

The file will now open in Preview, with a view of the document. If you're content with its appearance, click File > Save to make a copy on the computer

Refining the PDF

It's important to ensure that the structure and logical flow of the document is as intended. Make sure that the sections and tags are detected and ordered correctly - this allows screen readers and similar software to analyze the text in a document.

Tags generally used to define different sections of a document. Just as this page has three separate sections, a PDF's sections must be also defined if they are to be fully accessible.

Step 5

Review document structure and if necessary fix it using the TouchUp Reading Order Tool, under Tools > Advanced Editing.

Tools -> Advanced Editing -> touchup

If you would like to make changes, follow the on-screen instructions and numbers to define the structural flow of your document to your liking.


Step 6

If your scan has images in it, you must add alt text. To do this, select Tools then Advanced Editing and finally select TouchUp Object Tool. Now Right Click on the image and select properties. Click on the tags tab, and fill out the Alternative Text with a meaningful description of the picture.


Step 6

If your scan has images in it, you must add alt text. To do this, select Tools then Advanced Editing and finally select TouchUp Object Tool. Now Right Click on the image and select properties. Click on the tags tab, and fill out the Alternative Text with a meaningful description of the picture.

Step 7

When you're happy with the document structure, click Save to store a final copy on the computer.

Step 8

Test the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Are you able to highlight text? If accessibilty is highly important to the file you are creating, test the file with NVDA. NVDA is an open source screen reader comparable to JAWS.

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Edited with permission of Oregon Health and Science University


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