What to do with those pesky PDFs?

As we have moved to a remote learning environment, you may be straddled with a curriculum full of PDFs. Unfortunately, these are not as easy to navigate in the online world without a hefty knowledge of Adobe. Well, we have some awesome workarounds for getting students to interact with those pesky PDFs.

Option 1: Convert your PDF to a Word doc.

This may be the simplest option, but may not work for PDFs that have a lot of images or formatting.

  1. Open Word
  2. Choose Open and navigate to your PDF
  3. You will see the following message and will want to OK it
    Word to PDF
  4. Your PDF will now become a Word doc. You may need to click File and Edit document to make changes as necessary.
  5. Save your new Word doc!
  6. Share with students per your usual method.

Option 2: Use Class Notebook (in Teams or independently)

This is a better option for image heavy PDFs or ones with more complex math type problems. This can be used in a Class Notebook independently or one that is set up through Teams. If using the one available in your Class Team, you can assign the work through Teams directly.

  1. Find your Class Notebook or set it up in Teams (learn more about Class Notebook)
  2. Add a section or page as needed
  3. Insert the PDF file
    classnotebook PDF
  4. Assign to students either in Teams (navigating to you Class Notebook) or directly in Class Notebook

Watch this video on how to do this in Teams:

Option 3: Edge Browser (Add Notes)

Depending on the version of Edge on your computer, one of the features is “Add Notes.” Students who have the Edge browser available on their computer can use this feature to write notes directly on a PDF. It ultimately saves it to a One Note or as a Web file. Remember this is a workaround option for students to work with PDFs! Here is how to use this with students.

  1. Share a PDF file with your students (can be a share link from One Drive or via a Teams assignment).
  2. Students will need to be in Edge and open the file link there.
  3. Choose the Add Notes option
    edge tool
  4. Once they have added their notes they will want to save the document one of two ways. The first option is to a One Note, the other option is within the Web Browser as a “Favorite.” One suggestion is to create a Favorites Folder for their course:
    save in edge
  5. Finally, students can share the link to their file with you!

    share in edge


Option 4: PPT (PDF to Image)

One of our last workarounds is converting your PDFs into images and putting it into PowerPoint for editing. If using this option within Teams, students will need to open the PPT in the browser to see the Draw option! Here is how to use the PPT Draw option in browser for working with pesky PDFs.

  1. Open your PDF and choose File and Save As. Navigate to JPEG and save your PDF as an image. Another option is to take a screen capture of the PDF which will break it into more manageable chunks.
  2. One you have the image, you can now create a PPT (whether on your desktop, in One Drive, or directly in Teams)
  3. Create your PPT slide deck for your students by inserting the image(s). If you save an entire PDF page as an image consider changing the PPT slide size! You can customize the slide size to match the image size.
    PPT slide size
  4. Once you have the slide deck prepared, share with your students (create a copy for each to edit in Teams Assignments, share for all students to edit, or create a view only copy for them to make their own copy).
  5. Students will need to edit this in the browser version of PPT and use the “Draw” tab to edit the slide with their new content.
  6. They can turn in their completed work per your class protocols.

Learn more about this in our Secondary Tech PD class “PowerPoint –  Use the Annotate Tool to Draw on Anything”

We know that you have all been adapting to our new learning and environment and appreciate all your hard work. This is one of the topics we get questions about the most and hope that one of these options will work for you and your students in working around those pesky PDFs!

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