Using UDOIT to address accessibility barriers in course files

Many faculty upload Word documents, PowerPoint files, and Portable Document Format (PDF) files to Canvas for students to view, download, and even complete and submit. Unfortunately, these documents are likely to contain potential accessibility barriers for students who rely on assistive technology.

When you scan your Canvas site with UDOIT, it will scan the files you have uploaded as well as the Canvas pages, assignment and discussion prompts, and so forth.

UDOIT can identify the following issues in your documents; however, accessibility issues in files cannot be fixed in Canvas.

As an alternative to fixing and re-uploading your existing documents, you can also Create Alternate file formats with UDOIT to replace your file.


  • Missing Alt Text: The Word file has at least one image without alternative text.
  • Missing Headings: The Word file does not have headings, which help screenreader users navigate a large document.
  • Missing Table Header: The Word file has at least one table without a table header.
  • Missing Title: The Word file is missing a title property.
  • Older File Format: Older file formats (.doc) do not have all the modern considerations of a .docx file. For the best compatibility and usability, consider opening this file in Microsoft Word and saving it as a .docx file.


  • Older File Format: PPTX files should be used instead of PPT files. For the best compatibility and usability, consider opening this file in Microsoft PowerPoint and saving it as a .pptx file.


  • Scanned File: Many scanners create only a visual copy of the data they scan, similar to an image. If the source of the scan contains text, that text in visual format cannot be read by screen readers.
  • Missing Title: The PDF file is missing a title.
  • Untagged File: PDF is lacking tags, which provide a logical structure that governs how the content of the PDF is presented through assistive technology.
  • Password Protected File: The PDF is password protected and cannot be accessed.
  • Processing Error: There was an issue during the scanning of this PDF file.

Step 1: Fix inaccessible files

  1. Download or open the file from Canvas, your computer, or cloud storage.
  2. Complete an accessibility check.
  3. Address accessibility barriers. Both the Microsoft and the Acrobat accessibility check results will explain why each issue needs to be addressed and how to fix it. 
  4. Replace the old file with the remediated file.

Step 2: Replace inaccessible files in Canvas with UDOIT

  1. After you have fixed all of the accessibility issues in your old document, go back to your Canvas course site and select UDOIT from your course navigation menu. 
  2. Select Review Files (See Fig. 1).
    UDOIT home page, Review Files circled
    Figure 1: Review files navigation tab
  3. Find the file you need to replace and select Review (See Fig. 2).
    Red arrow points to Review button next to a file flagged by UDOIT
    Figure 2: Review option for a single file
  4. Under File Actions, select Replace file with an uploaded file (See Fig. 3).
    Replace file with an uploaded file circled
    Figure 3: Replacing an existing file with an uploaded file
  5. Either drag and drop your file into the upload interface, or browse to it on your computer to upload it.

In addition, Missouri Online has resources on how to create accessible Word, PowerPoint and PDF files.


Modified on: Mon, Jul 1, 2024 at 3:23 PM

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