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K-State Today

August 12, 2021

Resources for accessible PDFs

Submitted by Jason Maseberg-Tomlinson

At the beginning of a new school year, faculty may be looking to refresh and revise course materials. Articles saved as PDFs and posted to Canvas have been a mainstay for providing additional content to students. There are several advantages to using PDFs, such as graphic integrity, security and ease to create. However, there are disadvantages to using PDFs, especially the inability to interact with the content if the PDF is saved as an image.

All students benefit from instructors taking the time to either find alternatives to PDFs or ensure the accessibility and usability of the format. The Student Access Center offers the following suggestions:

  • Use permalinks instead of scanning articles and posting to Canvas.
    A permalink is a web address that will consistently point to a specific information source. K-State Libraries provides detailed instructions on how to use permalinks.
  • Check the accessibility of the PDF with Read&Write when posting a PDF.
    Read&Write is a feature-rich program equipped with OCR, or optical character recognition, technology and is available to all students, faculty and staff. The SAC has detailed instructions on how to use the R&W scan feature. Also, check the accuracy of the scan by listening to the PDF using PDF Reader.