PDFs that are added to Canvas > Files are often difficult to view (especially on mobile devices) and are not accessible to users with disabilities. Follow these steps to transform PDF content to a Canvas page, which makes it easier to read, edit, and view (even on mobile devices).
Step 1: Identify the source of the PDF
Determine the source of the PDF
- Word Document - this is the best source for transforming information to Canvas. Look for the document form of the source and use it, if it is available.
- Searchable Source - This file includes text that can be searched and read with screen reader technology. This is optimal for transforming to a Canvas page.
- Online Source - this is an editable PDF that can easily be transformed.
- OCR Source - this is a PDF that has been scanned with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enabled. Many OCR files may not have tags (structure) and may not be accessible.
- Object Source - this is a file that is basically a photo of text. Screen readers view these files as images and therefore they are not accessible. Files of this kind will need to be converted to an editable PDF.
How to determine the source
|Optimal search capabilities||Optimal selection capabilities||Microsoft Word or other word processors, Pages, or, text files|
|Text can be searched in Adobe Reader "search" functionality||Text can be selected and copied from the PDF||Generally, the result of a properly converted document from a word processor|
|Text can be searched using browser "search" features||Text can be selected and copied||Website created with HTML/CSS standards|
|Text can usually be searched using "search" functionality, but won't have metadata tags that assist screen readers to understand the structure||Text can be selected and copied but metadata will not be copied||OCR functionality is applied to files in the scanning or conversion process|
|Text is basically a photocopy of the text and cannot be searched||The whole object will be selected instead of individual text||Scanned image without OCR functionality applied|
If the source cannot be selected and copied, try to convert the file to an editable, searchable file. This can be achieved by using accessibility features in Adobe Acrobat Pro or searching for PDF to Word online converters. If the source is acceptable, move on to Step 2.
Step 2: Transfer the text to Word
Copy and paste manageable sections
- Open the PDF and a new Word document
- Select and copy highlighted portion of text from an individual PDF page and copy it into a new Word document.
Carefully correct any errors, including the following:
- Page numbers inserted in the middle of text
- Footers/headers inserted in the middle of text
- "Gremlin" code or other weird formatting stuff that may have popped into the PDF
- Big, strange spaces that break up text
- Missing words - if words are missed when extracting text, type missing words manually
- Anything that doesn't look correct (formatting or grammar)
Repeat the steps in Step 2, repeating the process in manageable sections
Step 3: Transfer to a Canvas page
When the PDF has been transferred to a Word document, select and copy the text from the entire Word document and paste it into a new Canvas Page. Format the page and add images and tables if necessary.