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The Moodle Filescan tool checks the accessibility of PDF files in a Moodle class and provides a report on the accessibility of each file.  The status is either pass, fail, or check.  A PDF file fails if it does not contain any text.  A file is marked as "Check" if the file has text but does not have other accessibility elements.  A PDF passes if it meets all the accessibility checks.   

What the tool checks for


If a PDF file does not have text it means the file has been scanned as an image.  This means that screen readers and other assistive devices will not be able to read the content. 


A PDF file stores metadata about the document, including the title of the document, which is different than the filename.   Having a clear and accurate title helps ensures that users make sure they are reading the correct document.  If the title is missing from the metadata fields, the PDF will fail this test.   


A PDF file stores information about the language of the document which is used by screen readers and other assistive devices to ensure proper pronunciation. 


The outline of a PDF file allows screen readers to easily navigate a document.  For instance, if every section of a chapter is tagged, a user can quickly jump from one section to the next.  Microsoft Word documents created using the built-in heading styles (e.g. Heading 1, Heading 2) can be used to create tagged PDFs than contain an outline.  PDF created from a scanned document usually do not have outlines because the scanner cannot distinguish between chapters or sections with a document.  It can be complex to tag PDF files. 


The following symbols are used to display the result of the accessibility file scan.  

A green check means the test passed

A red X means the test failed

An orange exclamation mark means that the PDF is partially accessible

A blue question mark means that the file has not yet been scanned or the file has an error which prevents it from being scanned.  The file could be corrupted or have a password which prevents the tool from opening the PDF.  

How to Fix PDF Files

Check with the Library

Before fixing a document, check with the Library to see if they have the document in an accessible electronic format.  This can save a lot of time.

Converting to Text

Use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to extract the text from the image of the document. 

  • For existing PDF documents, upload your file on the convert inaccessible course material page and choose the "accessibility conversion" option.  It is possible to select multiple documents to be converted at one time.  You will receive the converted document(s) via email within a few hours.  
  • For new scanned documents, all department Cannon printers have been set to automatically scan documents using OCR.  

To check that your scan was OCR'd, try copying some text from document and pasting it into Word.  If you can successfully paste the text you copied, your document has been OCR'd.  If this is not the case, it is most likely that the setting on the printer has been changed and you should open a ticket with the help desk explaining that the Cannon copier is not OCRing documents.

Setting PDF Title, Language, and Outline

The title, language, and outline can often be fixed by using Adobe Acrobat DC's "Action Wizard", which can be found in the right sidebar.  Look for this icon: Acrobat Action Wizard Icon

Alternatively navigate to the Tools menu→  Customize → Action Wizard

 One of the first options on the Action Wizard "Actions List" is to "Make Accessible".  Follow the steps.  This will work for about 70% of documents.

Important Caveat

Not all documents can successfully be made accessible. A great deal depends on the quality of the original document.  Even if Acrobat successfully translates an image of text to text, it is very important to review the document.  Original documents of poor quality, documents which have a lot of notes or underlines, and documents with blurred text may result in inaccurate translations and gibberish.  If you find this to be the case, please contact for assistance in working with your file.

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