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Printing Reduction Strategies: Scanning

This guide is dedicated to assisting in the reduction of printing on campus.

Why PDF?

PDF files can be opened by every major operating system and the format can be used by dozens of different applications. In addition, the majority of modern web browsers allow PDF files to be read without having to call an external application. Increasingly, mobile operating systems are including PDF readers, making the PDF file almost universally usable. Compare this with Microsoft Word, which can only be read by a few applications, and you can see the usefulness of this wide-ranging support.1 See the Saving and Sharing page to create PDFs from Microsoft Word and Google Docs.


Creating a PDF: Scanning or Save As...

  • Scan only what is necessary - crop out what you do not need.
  • Use Adobe Acrobat Pro to recognize text (OCR - optical character recognition) after you scan. Doing so makes the text searchable, selectable, and accessible to screen reader software.
  • Also use Adobe Acrobat Pro to rotate pages, combine multiple documents into a single PDF, and set up other accessibility options. 
  • You can also optimize a PDF (recommended), reducing the file size.
Scanning Instructions
Save As...

Microsoft Word - Save a Document as PDF

  1. File > Save As
  2. Select a location
  3. Click the Save as type drop-down and select PDF
  4. Click Save


Google docs - Download a document as a PDF

  1. Open a document
  2. File > Download as...
  3. Select PDF

Annotating/Marking-up a PDF

It is possible to annotate or mark-up a PDF document with highlighting, comments, and other features. Below are a few top tasks. Click here to see a full list. All of these are possible to do in both Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat Pro. If you need to edit/mark-up/annotate a PDF on a mobile device, you may check this page for a link to apps on the iOS and android platforms.

Add a Text Comment

After clicking the , place the cursor where text should be added directly to the document. Changing the font, point, and color is possible.



Highlighting Text

If a word, sentence, or paragraph needs to be highlighted, use the Highlight Text  feature.
Click the icon, the highlight the text as you normally would. Once you release the mouse key, the text will be highlighted yellow.



Sticky Note

To leave a sticky note that may be viewed while hovering or in the Comments List, click . Then place the stick note within the document. After to finish your note, it will be visible in the Comments List. You will be able to edit the note by clicking on the text in the Comments List.


Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

OCR (optical character recognition) - Recognizing text in a pdf yields a number of benefits. Doing so de-skews the document, makes the text searchable, selectable, and readable by a screen reader (JAWS). It is only possible to recognize text in Adobe Acrobat Pro.

To recognize text in a PDF:

  1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro
  2. Click to open the Tools menu, then expand the Recognize Text drop-down area.
  3. Click the In This File button.
  4. Select all pages or a portion of the document and then click OK. If you receive a message that the document already has renderable text this means that the text is already selectable and searchable.
  5. Save your document.

Optimizing a PDF

Why should I optimize a PDF?

PDF optimization reduces file size, decreasing the amount of time the documents take to open and makes them easier to share.

  1. Open the PDF Optimizer dialog box (File > Save As > Optimized PDF).
  2. To use the default settings, choose Standard from the Settings menu, and then skip to step 6. If you change any settings in the PDF Optimizer dialog box, the Settings menu automatically switches to Custom.
  3. From the Make Compatible With menu, choose Retain Existing to keep the current PDF version, or choose an Acrobat version. (The options available in panels vary depending on this choice.)
  4. Select the check box next to a panel (for example, Images, Fonts, Transparency), and then select options in that panel. To prevent all of the options in a panel from executing during optimization, deselect the check box for that panel.
  5. (Optional) To save your customized settings, click the Save button and name the settings. (To delete a saved setting, choose it in the Settings menu and click Delete.)
  6. When you are finished selecting options, click OK.
  7. In the Save Optimized As dialog box, click Save to overwrite the original PDF with the optimized PDF, or select a new name or location.

Click here for a video tutorial on how to optimize a PDF.