The most common inaccessible file is an image PDF. Old scans of articles and book chapters are often image PDFs. These are inaccessible to text-to-speech and screen reader softwares frequently used by students with learning disabilities and vision impairments to listen to text.
To test whether a PDF is accessible, try selecting/highlighting text using your cursor. If you are unable to select text, it is an image file and is not accessible. The easiest way to make your file accessible is to use our online File Converter. Just upload your file, and a converted, accessible file will be delivered to your email inbox in minutes. You can then distribute this version to all your students. The quality of conversion will depend on the quality of the original document uploaded, so try to use clear, high quality scans.
If for any reason you want to convert a PDF by hand instead of using the online File Converter, you can make scanned PDFs accessible using Acrobat Pro (available to all faculty and staff; contact the IITS Pro Desk prodesk [at] haverford.edu). There are several aspects to making a fully accessible PDF, but the most essential component is that the text is recognizable. To do this, got to View > Tools > “Recognize Text”.