Make a PDF Accessible

The goal of accessible learning is that a person with a disability will obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability. When a learning setting is accessible, a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. 

The following instructions require using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Any LSC faculty or staff member can get a copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro for free on a work computer and one home computer. (See "Get Software" on the OTS Faculty Staff Resources page for more information.) The following instructions refer to the latest version, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC.

Does an Accessible PDF need Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

OCR is only necessary if the text on the PDF is an image instead of actual text. To determine whether your PDF is an image, try to select and copy a line of text. If you can't, your PDF is an image and needs optical character recognition (OCR). 

Run OCR with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC


  1. Open your PDF file.
  2. In the Tools panel, on the far right side, click Edit PDF.
    Identifies Edit PDF
  3. The image will be edited to text through OCR. A window displays allowing you to edit your settings.
    Shows edit settings dialogue
  4. Your PDF should now be editable text. For more information about working with scanned PDFs, please visit Adobe's page on the subject.

Contact OTS for help with OCR.

Run Adobe Acrobat Action Wizard to Make Your Document Accessible

  1. Click the Tools tab in the top left-hand corner.
    Identifies Tools
  2. Click the Action Wizard icon.
    Shows Action Wizard icon
  3. Click Make Accessible in the right hand column.
    Identifies Make Accessible
  4. Select a file to be processed and click the Start button. When your file is finished running, you will have an accessibility report in the left hand column.
    Show make accessible form

Run the Adobe Acrobat Built in Accessibility Checker

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has a built-in accessibility checker. To run the accessibility check:

  1. Select the Tools tab in the top left-hand corner.
    Identifies Tools
  2. Click the Accessibility icon.
    Shows Accessibility icon
  3. From the right hand column, select Full Check.
    Identifies Full Check
  4. The Accessibility Full Check window opens.
    Shows Report options
  5. Check Create accessibility report.
  6. Choose a folder for the report.
  7. Select the settings to be checked.
  8. Click the Start Checking button.
  9. The Accessibility Report displays in the left hand column. The report displays identified accessibility issues for the PDF so you can fix them.
    Shows accessibility report

Additional Resources