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Suggested Adobe Reader DC Settings and other tips for reading PDF documents using ZoomText or Fusion

This article applies to:

ZoomText 2018 and 2019

Fusion2018 and 2019

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Problem

PDF documents have always been a challenge for accessibility software.  Their readability can depend on how the document was created, what application is being used to view the document, and the preference settings of that application. This article will help you set optimal conditions for viewing and reading pdf documents.

Solution

The best applications for viewing pdf documents are the Adobe reader applications. Currently, the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC can be downloaded at https://get.adobe.com/reader/ .

In Windows 10, Microsoft Edge is the default viewer when opening pdf documents. See the following article to change the default viewer to Adobe Acrobat Reader:

https://www.freedomscientific.com/Support/TechnicalSupport/Bulletin/1689

To select the optimal accessibility settings in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC for ZoomText and Fusion users:

  1. Open Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.
  2. Select "Edit", "Preferences" (the shortcut is CTRL+K). The focus moves to a list of categories in alphabetical order. Use the UP/DOWN ARROW keys to change categories and then press TAB to navigate to the options within that category.
  3. Navigate to the "3D & Multimedia" category, In the "Preferred Renderer" combo box, select "Software" instead of "DirectX9". Uncheck "Enable hardware rendering for legacy video cards". These settings may improve the text quality in certain pdf documents.
  4. In the "Accessibility" category, make sure "Always use Zoom Setting" is checked and the combo box is set at 100%. This is a suggestion so that any document consistently opens in normal size, so when you magnify with ZoomText or Fusion, everything is magnified equally.
  5. Navigate to the "Reading" category. For the "Page vs. Document" combo box, select "Read the entire document". This enables the AppReader tool to read the entire document.
  6. Navigate to the "Security (Enhanced)" category. Uncheck "Enable Protected Mode at startup". This enables ZoomText, Fusion, and JAWS to read the document and allows JAWS and Fusion to OCR the document.  UPDATE for JAWS and Fusion users: As of the JAWS 2019 and Fusion 2019 updates, it is OK to leave "Enable Protected mode at startup" and "Run in app container" on.
  7. Select OK.
  8. Restart Adobe and ZoomText or Fusion.

Other tips for reading PDF documents:

If the AppReader tool does not read a pdf document using App view (ALT+SHIFT+A), it could be that the document is not tagged.  Try using Text View mode (ALT+SHIFT+T)for reading the document.

If an Adobe  document still does not seem to be accessible, select File >Properties > Security tab. If “Content copying for accessibility” is not allowed, then ZoomText, Fusion, and JAWS will not be able to read the document.

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