Extreme Makeover: PDF Edition


Make your website or course materials more inclusive and accessible by participating in the 2022 PDF Makeover.

If not crafted with attention to accessibility, PDFs can serve as barriers for individuals with disabilities and can limit your audience. Revising or converting PDFs is an impactful way to make your websites and course materials more accessible.

Participating faculty and staff members will take on a specific task each week in March to reduce their inaccessible PDFs:

  • assessing the PDFs available on their websites or in their course materials
  • converting PDF documents and forms to more accessible formats
  • improving necessary PDFs with accessible features.

The PDF Makeover event originated at NC State and now takes place at many colleges and universities. Appalachian State's event is sponsored by the Office of Disability Resources, the Center for Academic Excellence, and the Digital Accessibility Working Group. We will be piloting the program in the Department of Psychology in 2022 and expanding it to other departments and offices in 2023. 


Participants will receive detailed instructions and training/support materials for each week's assignment:

Week 1 (March 1-4):  Inventory your PDFs and identify next steps

Participants will inventory the PDFs used on the websites they manage or in the courses they teach and identify those that can be removed, converted to another format, or kept as PDFs but made more accessible. See the Week 1 instructions.

Week 2 (March 14-18): Transition PDFs to more accessible formats

Participants will learn the benefits of converting PDFs to other formats, such as web pages, Google Docs, or AsULearn pages, to enhance accessibility and maximize engagement. Participants will receive guidance on how to create pages in more accessible formats. See the Week 2 instructions.

Week 3 (March 21-25): Make remaining PDFs more accessible

Participants will learn ways to evaluate the accessibility of their remaining PDFs and ways to repair and enhance their accessibility. See the Week 3 instructions.

Time Requirements

Participants decide the number of documents they will review. Due to differences in the amount of work needed (is it accessible already, can it be transitioned to a different format, longer or more complicated PDF, etc.), the amount of time people spend will vary. Participants have the option to join 1 hour Zoom training or complete similar, self-paced training to learn about PDF remediation.

Additional Support Available

  • Open Zoom Office hours
  • 1:1 support available upon request

Resources for Accessible Documents

Training & support resources for:

  • Checking PDFs for accessibility
  • Creating accessible PDFs
  • Creating accessible documents in other formats, like Word and Google Docs