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Home > Canvas User Experience > Easy Fix #4: Converting Documents and PowerPoints to PDFs | 2024
Easy Fix #4: Converting Documents and PowerPoints to PDFs | 2024
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Easy Fix #4: Converting Documents and PowerPoints to PDFs

Today’s Easy Fix focuses on converting your documents and PowerPoints to PDFs. PDFs are often the preferred document type for distributing content to students. That being said, when converting to a PDF, you must take certain steps to ensure your documents remain accessible. There are two ways to convert a document to a PDF – by using “Save As” or “Print To”. For accessibility purposes, “Save As” is the superior choice.

Why Should I Use “Save As”?

From an accessibility standpoint, “Save As” is your best option when converting documents because any tags and formatting in your original document will remain throughout the PDF conversion. Other words for this process are “Export” or “Convert.”

How to Use “Save As” for Microsoft

If you’re using Microsoft 365 or Word 2019 and a Microsoft computer:

  1. Click the File tab in your document’s heading bar.

Example: Click the File tab in your document’s heading bar.

  1. Click Save as Adobe PDF.

Example: Click Save as Adobe PDF.

How to Use “Save As” for Mac

If you’re using Microsoft 365 or Word 2019 and a Mac computer:

  1. Click the File tab in your document’s heading bar.
  2. Click Save As...

Example: Click the File tab in your document’s heading bar. Click Save As.

  1. From the File Format dropdown menu, select PDF.

Example: From the File Format dropdown menu, select PDF.

How to Use “Save As” with Outdated Software

If you don’t have Microsoft 365 or Word 2019:

  1. Update your software to Microsoft 365 or Word 2019.
  2. If you cannot update your software, click the File tab and then click Save As.
  3. Click the Arrow by the Save icon. You will see a dropdown menu with different document types. Select PDF (*.pdf).
  4. After saving as an Adobe PDF, you can use Adobe Acrobat’s accessibility checker to ensure that your PDF is as accessible as possible.

What If “Print To” Is My Only Option?

If the only option you see when converting your documents to PDFs is “Print To”, the first thing you should do is update your software. All FSU employees and active students receive Microsoft Office Suite for free. Also, Adobe Creative Cloud (which grants access to Adobe Acrobat, a software for the management of PDF files) is available for FSU faculty, staff, and departments.

 

If you're unable to update your software, there are a few things to note. When you “Print to PDF”, the new document will not have the tags or formatting that existed in the original document or PowerPoint. Tags and formatting are essential for those who use screen readers, and if they are not present, your document could be inaccessible. Adobe Acrobat makes it easy to add tags and increase the accessibility of your PDFs. Microsoft also offers tips to ensure your PDFs are as accessible as possible, regardless of software type. Be sure to add or update formatting to your converted PDF before distributing to students.


How to Use “Print To”

  1. Click Print.
  2. Note the option Save as PDF in the print dialog box. Save your PDF.
  3. Add tags and additional accessibility features to your PDF.

Alternatively, you can install an extension for your browser that allows pages to be saved as PDFs. Microsoft EdgeGoogle Chrome, and Firefox all offer such extensions.


Easy Fix Recap

So far in Easy Fix 2024, we’ve covered Canvas’s built-in accessibility toolsTidyUP (a Canvas cleanup tool aimed at improving your Ally score by detecting and removing duplicated and unused files), and Kaltura (a Canvas tool that allows you to upload and caption YouTube videos). Be sure to check out those Easy Fixes as you work to improve your courses’ accessibility. For more accessibility information, please see our Ally Resource Guide.

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