Creating Accessible Materials

Students with an accommodation for "supplemental materials in accessible format" need to have enhanced classroom materials in order to fully participate in the course. Faculty can make their MS Word docs and PDFs accessible by ensuring that they are in an electronic format that is readable by screen reader software. Syllabi, articles, homework assignments are examples of materials that can be made accessible. Our office can help you convert your materials into accessible format. Please give us a call (503-370-6737) or email us ( with your questions.

The following resources will guide you through creating accessible documents:

Making Accessible PDFs

First, refer to these simple instructions from WITS on how to use Adobe Acrobat DC to make your documents accessible. You can practice using the instructions on the document itself by downloading it and opening it with Adobe Acrobat DC. Don't have Acrobat DC? Contact your WITS USC for installation assistance.

The Hatfield Library

The Hatfield Library's “Accessing Content” page offers faculty concise instructions on making accessible PDFs for your classes. Library staff created this easy-to-use resource so that faculty can:

  • Become familiar with OCR (Optimal Character Recognition)
  • Create readable PDFs
  • Learn to activate the Read Out Loud feature in Adobe Acrobat to test readability of PDFs
  • Use databases to find articles that are already created in OCR format


WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) is a non-profit organization that provides detailed directions, including pictures, on how to make Word documents accessible and convert them into PDFs. Click on the version of Word that you are using for a guide to making accessible documents:

Word 2010 (Windows)

Word 2011 (Mac)

Word 2013 (Windows)

Word 2016 (Windows)

Word 2016 (Mac)

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free teaching, learning, and researching resources that are already accessible. Consider using OER materials in your courses to ensure access and save students money. These resources are available in a multitude of formats, including textbooks, full courses, modules, videos, labs, assignments, and assessments. The Hatfield Library provides a detailed introduction to OER and how to use them - just click on the OER link above to access their website.