Jason Carroll, Global Product Manager

ATIA 2018 was all about accessible PDFs

We’re just getting back from a jam-packed ATIA 2018 conference in Orlando, FL where making PDFs accessible and collaborative seemed to be on everyone’s mind.

Thankfully that’s something Texthelp knows a thing or two about. So for those of you that are interested in learning more about our PDF tools or want to start using them in your classroom today, this post is for you!

First off, I think it’s safe to say that PDFs are as popular as ever. This is partly due to the big push for paperless classrooms that many schools are promoting. Then of course everyone wants to make the most out of all the technology students have access to these days. Having documents available in a digital format goes a long way in making this a reality.

While being digital is one reason PDFs are so popular, they also have a few other unique characteristics that keep folks coming back. Things like not being able to edit PDFs (great for testing scenarios), maintaining the formatting of the underlying doc, and being viewable on pretty much any device or operating system is important in any educator's classroom.

The only downside is that PDFs are not always the most accessible format. Many are image-based, which means they’re not accessible to screen readers or text-to-speech applications. This also makes it difficult to do more productivity-related tasks like making highlights or looking up definitions for words you don't understand.

This is where two of Texhelp’s products come in really handy...


For G Suite users, it couldn’t be easier to make an image-based PDF accessible, thanks to Snapverter. To use, simply install Snapverter from Texthelp’s website to add an additional folder in Google Drive. You can then use this folder to OCR documents and make them accessible (OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition and is basically a way to turn an image based PDF into an accessible PDF where text and individual characters are recognized).

Once installed, simply snap a picture of any worksheet or other document, drop the picture in the “Drop here to convert folder” within the Snapverter folder, and your OCR’d PDF will be ready in no time!

You can even take existing image-based PDFs from your computer or the web and convert them with Snapverter. Just check the finished folder a few minutes later and you’ll be all set. It’s that easy!

If that’s not enough, soon a Snapverter App will be available for iOS users that will OCR text on the fly (see preview below). This means users will be able to snap a picture of a document and have it read aloud right from your phone or tablet. You’ll also be able to store the document online for later use with Texthelp’s PDF Reader.

We were able to demo an early version of this to several people who stopped by the booth at ATIA, and the feedback was great. Keep an eye out for more information on the Snapverter App coming your way soon!

Texthelp's New PDF Reader for Read&Write for Google ChromeTM

Once you have an accessible PDF, the productivity really begins! That’s because you can now use Texthelp’s PDF Reader to:
  • Have text read aloud
  • Make text and push-pin annotations
  • Collaborate and have threaded discussions with others using comments
  • Look up words using a dictionary and picture dictionary
  • Share (teachers) or turn in (students) the PDF via Google Classroom
  • Make and collect highlights into a Google Doc
  • And more!
Once you've installed the PDF Reader, you can begin using all of the tools listed above to really make the most out of any PDF file. Check out this short video for a quick overview.

Note that the Google Classroom integration is brand new, so you may want to refer to this post or check out this video to learn more.

Give Snapverter and Texthelp’s new PDF Reader a try today!

It’s easy to start using Snapverter and Texthelp’s PDF Reader in combination to make PDFs accessible and collaborative. After all, Snapverter is free to install. Everyone gets 10 free scans to start, plus one additional scan each week. If you are interested in unlocking unlimited scanning for teachers or students, premium subscriptions are available.

But that’s not all. Because the PDF Reader is part of Read&Write for Google ChromeTM, which is Free for Teachers, all teachers have access to all features of the PDF Reader for free as well. If you’re not already registered as a teacher with Texthelp, stop reading this post now and sign up!

Just like Read&Write, students will have free access to all features of the PDF Reader for 30 days, then text-to-speech, the translator tool, and commenting remains free forever. Premium subscriptions are available, which unlock all features for all students.

For more information about either product, visit www.texthelp.com/ or contact us at u.s.info@texthelp.com.

Have you experienced the power of PDFs when they are accessible and collaborative? If so, share your thoughts below!


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