Access content in alternative formats

You may prefer to access documents or learning materials in alternative formats. This lets you customise how the content looks, change its format to meet your accessibility needs, or translate text into a different language.

Convert material to alternative formats

While we aim to design our content to be as accessible as possible, there may be cases where you need or would prefer an alternative format.

We have a number of tools and processes you can use to convert material yourself or to request alterative formats.

1. SensusAccess

SensusAccess is a tool that allows you to convert PDFs, JPEGs and other files into another format such as text, e-book, audio, braille etc.

2. Learning materials in Moodle

Blackboard Ally is built into your Moodle modules. It gives you options to download the learning materials in a range of more accessible file formats.

Watch this short video on how Blackboard Ally works.

3. Use technology to read in different ways

Use our software finder to explore accessibility tools and apps that can help you.   

Most operating systems can adapt content to be more accessible; for example, text-to-speech tools in Apple’s OSX

Lots of mainstream software offers text to speech or similar. The Immersive Reader tool in Microsoft Office can read text aloud and lets you customise how your document looks on the screen.

Advice about the accessibility features of different devices: My Computer My Way

4. Request alternative formats from your lecturer

If you experience any barriers, you can request alternative formats: use this alternative formats process for students (docx)

Staff: how to deal with alternative format requests

Alternative formats process for staff (docx)   

5. Request accessible emails (Outlook web)

Let a sender know that you prefer to receive accessible content. 

In Outlook on the web:

  1. go to the Settings menu (cog icon)
  2. select All Outlook Settings
  3. in left hand column click General
  4. select Accessibility settings
  5. select Ask senders to send content that's accessible checkbox.

You can make an accessible copy if you own the copyright (eg, it's your own work), have permission from the copyright holder, if the copyright has expired, or if it's for someone with a print disability.

If so you need to agree that:

  • the copy won't be shared with others
  • you can't find a commercially available version in an appropriate format
  • you abide by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, Section 31A (Disabled persons: copies of works for personal use).

Contact us for copyright advice:

Find out more about copyright exceptions for disability.

Need help?

For more help and advice, email

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