Alternative Formats

To improve access to text, it can be converted into an alternative format.

Examples include a commercial product such as Dolphin Easy Converter or a self-service automated system for individual use, called Robobraille, which allows text to be submitted in any form via the website to be converted into your choice of format.  The automated system provides a response in a few minutes including text to speech and optical character recognition.  It is able to provide files in formats such as MP3 audio files, Braille, ebook or an accessible document format.

Changing the appearance of text

Many users need to be able to change the appearance of text as it appears on the screen.  This might be for a number of reasons but mainly due to conditions such as a visual impairment, colour blindness or symptoms around visual stress that can cause perception difficulties particularly with black text on a white background.

Ways of manipulating text include:

  • Adjusting the size of the text
  • Changing the font itself. The two main options being;
    • Serif
    • Sans serif
  • Adding formatting such as italic or bold
  • Changing the colour of the text
  • Changing the background colour of the page

Each learner is unique and they need to be able to customise the appearance and clarity of text to that which enables them to read efficiently. The ability to save your preferred settings and login to different PCs with those settings is beneficial for the learner. 

When considering purchasing external resources or systems it is important to ensure that users are able to manipulate text into the format they require.  Failure to do this may result in the additional expense of readers to assist learners, which is expensive and denies independent access to learners.


Bookshare® is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities.

It provides over half a million accessible books that can be read in a variety of ways.  They can be listened to using text to speech that also highlights the words on the screen as they are read aloud. They can be accessed using digital braille readers or large screen fonts.  They can also be printed on paper in large fonts or embossed with physical braille as well as accessed via individual devices.

Bookshare is a global organisation that is used by print impaired users in over 70 countries.

Back to Access Page

Accessing Text by Audio

Access by Images

Magnifying Text

Tactile Text