Advanced Topic: Working with Scanned Documents

Scanning Print or Electronic Content into Adobe Acrobat

The scenarios we have presented so far include the conversion of Word Documents and PowerPoint presentations into Adobe PDF documents.  However, there may be times when you will be creating a PDF document from scanned print materials or from electronic files saved on a computer. If not created correctly, creating documents from a scanner can result in creating an image of the print document and not the actual text of the print document. 

Adobe Acrobat Professional provides an Optical Character Recognition feature that can be applied when creating PDFs from a scanner or from electronic files saved on a computer.  The Optical Character Recognition OCR feature, when applied to a document, attempts to recognize all text and other object in a document, attempts to infer reading order, and adds tags accordingly. 

After creating the PDF from scanning files, depending on the complexity of the document, you may still need to edit your document in Adobe Acrobat by adding tags to identify images, tables, text, and other items, and assess reading order.  Creating PDF documents correctly from a scanner and/or from multiple electronic files will enable users of assistive technologies to better access the content in your PDF documents.

This training is divided into 2 sections: Creating Accessible PDF's from a Scanner and OCR or Optical Character Recognition Settings.  The following Video Tutorial covers everything in this area of training.  See the following pages to see the print instructions with images.

Video Tutorial - Working with Scanned Documents (5:18)


  • This training has been funded in part by the EnACT (Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology) grant. 
  • Written and developed by Sacramento State Online Learning professionals, Monica Range and Cryssel Vera and technical crew, Ivan Vajar, Ken Young, and Jennifer Wicks with guidance from the CSU Professional Development Work Group.


If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site or need an alternate format, or you just have questions and want to give feedback, contact the Accessible Technology Initiative.

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