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Processing PDF: How to Go from PDF to E-text to Audio

Proposal No: 207

Bios & Handouts


Disability Area:          

Topic Area:                

Length of Session (in hours): 5Format: Lab Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Pre-Conference

Summary of Session

Some students are able to work with PDF files directly, and some are not. This session will focus on the strategy and workflow to use to create e-text when a PDF document is not enough to provide full access for a student.


Many campuses rely on the PDFs obtained from publishers and faculty to provide access to instructional materials for students with print disabilities. Sometimes these PDF documents are usable by students, and frankly, quite often they are not at all usable. This hands-on session will look at tools to access PDF documents directly, as well as how to transform a PDF document into e-text when direct access is insufficient. We will discuss how to use PDF as a source file for creating large print, Word, and plain text. We will also look at how to manipulate a PDF document by cropping pages, breaking up large documents into smaller sections, and combining individual pages into a larger section. Finally, we will look at a flow chart to help you make decisions about how best to process PDFs depending on students? needs. Please note: We do not cover how to create a tagged PDF document in this session.


  1. How to use Adobe Reader
  2. How to transform PDF into large print
  3. How to transform PDF into e-text

Speaker Bio(s)

Gaeir Dietrich

Gaeir Dietrich is a nationally recognized expert in the field of alternate media, assistive technology, and Section 508 compliance. Gaeir has served on advisory boards for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), Bookshare, the DIAGRAM Center, the Alternate Text Production Center (ATPC), and the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center. In 2010-2011, she served as the chair for the federal Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education.