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Information Technology

PDF Creation for Instructors

"PDF" stands for Portable Document Format. PDF is a fast, easy and reliable way to share documents.

Any printable document (for example MS Word or Powerpoint) can be saved to PDF, or you can scan paper to PDF. The PDF file can then be uploaded to your course Web site, hosted on Google Drive, Box or another file sharing service, linked to from a Web page, or attached to an email.

A well made PDF file will look the same on all computers, regardless of operating system, system fonts, or Web browser. The layout, typefaces, links, pagination, and images will remain consistent with the original document.

To be accessible to people with disabilities, scanned PDFs must be processed with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) text recognition software. This results in a  "searchable" PDF. Most scanning programs can perform OCR. Acrobat Pro software, available through Adobe Campus Agreement, can easily process a PDF to make it accessible.

The Instructional Media Lab has document scanners that can process multi-page paper documents into searchable PDFs, and also a special flatbed scanner for scanning books.

  • To make an appointment to use the scanner, instructors can contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or
  • Tip: Before you scan, search the Library databases or contact Library Digital Reserves and find out if the article or chapter you need to scan is already available in PDF format.

See the following resources for general information on creating and using PDF files: