Video demos of the top 5 ways to fix accessibility issues in existing PDF documents

This blog post is a compilation of videos showcasing the top accessibility fixes for PDF documents, using Adobe Acrobat.


Aka How can I improve accessibility in the existing PDF files without re-creating those?

Adobe Acrobat Professional comes in handy if you want to modify/update your existing PDF documents without re-generating it from the source files. While PDF documents are for consumption and are a final output without much scope for large-scale editing, Adobe Acrobat does allow you to do different types of edits, including but not limited to, editing text, editing images, manipulating backgrounds, manipulating watermarks, adding or modifying numbering, and so on. Another set of under-the-hood manipulations allow you to make your PDF documents accessible and help differently abled people consume the content. This also makes your PDF files more search engine friendly.

In the blog post on my team’s blog, I posted my favorite top 5 fixes for PDF documents to boost their accessibility. Click on the image below to access the blog post.

Top 5 accessibility fixes for PDFsIn this blog post I am compiling a few handpicked videos, shared by the fantastic Adobe Acrobat community, to showcase these top 5 enhancements.

Run OCR on a scanned document

The following video is a very quick but silent one. Watch it if you only need to quickly find how to do OCR in Acrobat.

The following video is one of the more detailed one out there, with a nice voice over.

The below video, recorded a few years ago by Tim Plumer Jr., has fantastic lucid narration (hence slightly longer) that showcases OCR using an older version of Acrobat. Watch this video if you are new to the OCR concept. While the UI has changed, the concepts remain exactly the same.

Add Document Properties and metadata

The following videos by Sally Cox, is a hidden gem. It describes in great detail where to find which properties and how to update open settings, metadata, and other Initial View. She also illustrates the change by showing before-after scenario. The 10 minutes are well spent, but view it with a mental state to learn.

For a very quick look at how to update just the metadata of a PDF document, watch the following video.

Set alternative text

Watch the following video to get a very quick look at just how to add alt text to an image.

Tag a PDF document or define flow

The following video talks about enhancing the flow of content in a PDF file. The video describes the issue of lack of flow in detail–very lucid.

The following videos shows tags in a PDF file and how to work with them.

Act on the detailed accessibility report

You can check the accessibility by running a full blown accessibility check on a PDF document. Two videos I think are useful to know how to run the report and act on it are below:


Image source is Wikimedia Commons public domain image.

Adobe Acrobat quick tips and best practices for Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

In this rolling set of tips, I am sharing tips and tricks to use OCR in Adobe Acrobat.

  1. First tip has to be about the wonder called OCR! You can make your scanned images searchable by running OCR on them. Also, you can extract text from ‘image PDFs’ by doing so.
  2. Before you scan a whole lot of documents to OCR later, scan one paper at different settings and run OCR to see how the results are. Use the settings that gives you the least number of OCR suspects.
  3. To get the best results from OCR, use ClearScan. It generates smaller file sizes and looks better at a given DPI. For an in-depth description, see this article.
  4. When scanning documents customize the options to improve the quality of the scan and hence the quality of OCR. The settings I find useful are highlighted in the following screenshot. See this help article for more details.
    My Acrobat scan options in Configure Presets
  5. Create as high quality scan as possible. Expect a good OCR if the image is 300 dpi or better. 600 dpi is good enough for most common purposes.
  6. Acrobat cannot OCR a page that is more than 45 inches in any one direction.
    Maximum PDF page size for Adobe Acrobat OCR
  7. You can add files other than PDF documents by selecting ‘In Multiple Files’.
    OCR on multiple files in Adobe Acrobat
  8. You can run OCR on an entire folder by selecting ‘In Multiple Files’ and then ‘Add Folders’.
    OCR on a folder in Adobe Acrobat
  9. You can disable OCR when scanning files. You may want to do so, when scanning many files and you have limited computing power! In the Configure Presets dialog for scanning, deselect ‘Make Searchable (Run OCR)’.
    Configure scan presets in Acrobat for scanning
  10. If you have a choice, do not use text over bright or dark graphics in the source to be scanned. Such text is not recognized properly during OCR, as the contrast between the text and the background is not high enough.
  11. To enhance contrast, and hence the probability of a good OCR, turn on the darkness of the text and the lightness of the background to maximum, while scanning. Also, use a black and white setting, instead of color or grayscale scan.
  12. Make sure the printed paper is lying flat on the scanner bed and aligns with the edges of the bed. Former may lead to folds and hence distorted text in the scan. Latter may lead to text at an angle in the scan. Both types of scans are not a good source to run OCR on.

More Acrobat and OCR resources:
Help and support page for official content:
Acrobat user community:

Share as comments, the OCR tips from your experience.