Scanned documents are very commonly created and distributed at Texas Tech but the quality of these scans varies. Low-quality scans can be difficult or impossible to read for people using assistive technology. Follow the simple guidelines below to improve the accessibility and overall quality of your scanned documents.
Accessible Scanning Guidelines
- Check to see if your document is already digital. A quick Google or TTU Library search could save you time if your document has already been put into a digital format. Be sure to check the accessibility of any PDF you find online before distributing it.
- Find a clean copy. Highlighting, underlining, and writing in the margins all cause a scan to be low-quality and can make a scanned PDF difficult to read. These markings can also contribute to accessibility problems. If your copy is marked up, find a clean copy before making your scan.
- Use a high-quality scanner. The better the scanner, the better the scanned document. In most cases a setting of 300-400 DPI (dots per inch) is sufficient. At TTU, high-quality scanners can be found in some department offices as well as at the library.
- Make a Searchable PDF. Use the scanner's option of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), sometimes called creating a Searchable PDF. This option drastically improves the accessibility of a scanned text document.
- One page at a time. Do not scan two book pages onto one page of a scan. This often results in the pages being scanned sideways and is very difficult to read. This also detracts from the accessibility of the document.
- Push the spine down. Words near the spine of a book can become distorted when the spine isn't pushed down and this can make reading difficult and also limits the capability of the OCR.
- Use consistent naming. Choose a name for your document that is descriptive and consistent with other documents of its kind.