Alternative Format Reading Materials

There are various types of softwares that the SAS utilizes to convert existing educational material into alternative formats. These alternative format reading materials are provided in the form of PDF files, audio files, and Braille. Students who have their accommodations approved will receive these materials at no cost.

Students who are approved for alternative format reading materials may use the following form to request an accessible version of course texts you already own.


SensusAccess is a tool that allows for quick conversions of documents from one format to another. The service automates the conversion of documents into a range of alternative formats including digital Braille, MP3 audio files, DAISY structured audio books, e-books and BeeLine Reader. It is also used to remediate otherwise inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files, scanned documents, pictures of text, LaTeX documents and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into more accessible formats. Furthermore, through advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, SensusAccess offers language-to-language translation with a very high degree of accuracy. 

SensusAccess can be used by anyone with a account, and generally takes from 2 minutes to 2 hours for document conversions depending on size. Access this tool through the Yale SensusAccess website.

To automatically remediate a poorly scanned course text so that the image is oriented in the correct position and the text is selectable and therefore able to be read by text-to-speech technologies, follow these instructions:

Step 0. Choose “File” as source.

Step 1. Upload the file.

Step 2. Choose “Accessibility conversion”

Step 3. Select target format. For best results, choose “pdf - Tagged PDF (image over text)”. “Text over image” also works. Depending on the quality of the scan, one might work better than the other.

Step 4. Enter your Yale email address. The converted file will be emailed to you.

Bookshare is a platform that also allows us to provide alternative formats for students. The service is has the most extensive collection of accessible ebooks in the world with more than 1,245,000 titles in its library. It includes books for school, career, and reading pleasure, as well as titles in over 34 languages. The collection is supported by a dedicated volunteer community and partnerships with over 1,000 US and international publishers.

AccessText Network

The AccessText Network is another platform where publishers such as Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Taylor & Francis / Routledge, Macmillan, and others provide accessible textbooks to university students. We use AccessText in conjunction with Bookshare when sourcing textbooks for students.

Learning Ally

Learning Ally is another platform that allows us to provide alternative format reading materials, mostly in the form of audiobooks, including human-read books that may have the option of highlighting the text as it is being read, as well as books read by a synthetic voice. Students can download books onto their personal, online bookshelf, which can be accessed with or without internet access both at school and at home 24/7. Learning Ally mostly provides books aimed at pre-K to grade 12 reading levels.