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After files are attached to a course, Ally creates alternative formats of the file based on the original. For example, if the original file is a PDF, Ally creates audio, electronic braille, and ePub formats of the same content. These formats are made available with the original file so everything is in one convenient location. The alternative formats created depend on the original file type.

Available Alternative Format Types

Not sure what format to download? This table shows at-a-glance the best formats for your different study needs. You might not see every alternative format in your list of choices to download. The formats generated depend on the original file uploaded.

 

Your study needs

Electronic braille

Audio

PDF, OCR

PDF, Tagged

HTML, Semantic

ePub

Adjust text, font, and background color

 

 

 

 

Yes
Yes

Adjust audio playback speed

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Commuting

 

Yes
Yes
Yes

 

Yes

Commuting, driving

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Copy, paste, and search

 

 

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Format adapts to device, responsive

 

 

 

 

Yes
Yes

Highlighting, note taking, and bookmarking

 

 

Yes
Yes

 

Yes

Mobile device

 

Yes

 

 

Yes
Yes

Offline

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Prefer listening

 

Yes

 

 

 

 

Prefer reading

Yes

 

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Print

Yes

 

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Text to speech with speed adjustment

 

 

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

 

 

 

If you don't see an option to download alternative formats, Ally isn’t enabled for that course or the file is not a supported content type.

Ally will be available in both Ultra and Original courses for summer 2019 and beyond.

About each alternative format

Audio: The audio alternative reads aloud the text in the original file. This also includes alternative descriptions for images, if they are provided. The audio format is saved as an MP3. MP3s are compressed, high-quality sound files that can be played on any computer or mobile device. Audio formats fail, if the original document contains more than 100,000 characters. Why use audio? Not only does audio benefit individuals with visual impairments, research has also proven that audio can increase learning (Boyle et al., 2003). 

 Maybe these sound like you. If so, audio is a good option.

  • You prefer to listen than read.
  • You’re an auditory learner.
  • You want to read and listen to the content at the same time.
  • You have a lot of material to study and find your eyes get tired.
  • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.
  • You don’t want to, or can’t, carry print materials for any length of time.
  • You have a visual impairment.
  • You want to adjust the speed of the audio.
  • Most players allow you to adjust playback speed. For example, Windows Media player, VIC, Audacity, and iTunes.

 

Electronic braille: The electronic braille alternative creates a BRF file that can be read on a refreshable Braille display (RBD), other Braille reading devices, or within a Braille software like Duxbury. Think of a Refreshable Braille Display (RBD) as a monitor-less computer. Most RBDs can connect to internet, create documents, access calendar, and a lot of the basic functionality a computer provides. RBDs be a standalone device. They can also be connected to a smartphone, iPad, or laptop. Most RBDs are limited to reading one line of Braille at a time. Why use electronic braille? While audio is excellent for reading comprehension, those who read braille acquire higher literacy rates on average (Benefits of braille article). With braille, users with visual impairments can know the spelling, punctuation, and format of text on a page.

Maybe these sound like you. If so, electronic braille is a good option.

  • You have a visual impairment.
  • You are familiar with braille.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You want to read and listen to the content at the same time.

 

ePub: The ePub alternative creates a digital publishing file that can be viewed on our mobile devices. ePub files are reflowable. This means that the content displayed automatically adapts to the device it is viewed on. Apps include Apple: iBooksVoice Dream, and NaturalReaderAndroid: Lithium and Voice Aloud ReaderWindows: CalibreIcecream Ebook Reader, and NaturalReaderWhy use ePub? ePub is powerful. With it, readers can take notes, highlight content, adjust text and background, and in some cases use text-to-speech.

Maybe these sound like you. If so, ePub is a good option.

    • You want to adjust font size and background color.
    • You want to highlight content, take notes, and bookmark important pages.
    • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
    • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
    • You prefer to read.
    • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.

 

Semantic HTML: Tags and elements—such as blockquote, paragraph, and headings—are added to add meaning to a page. It aids screen reader users with good content structure. Semantic HTML is viewed in a browser and adapts to the device you are viewing it on. Semantic HTML is available offline on your mobile device, if you don't close your browser. Why use Semantic HTML? Semantic HTML is ideal when the content has complex layouts.

Maybe these sound like you. If so, Semantic HTML is a good option.

    • You want to adjust font size and background color.
    • You want to highlight content, take notes, and bookmark important pages.
    • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
    • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
    • You prefer to read.
    • You use a screen reader.

 

OCR PDF: The OCR (Optical Character Recognition) PDF alternatives are created when the original file is PDF of an image. OCR technology analyses the document and converts the image into searchable text. The conversion is only as good as the quality of the original file. If the file is difficult to analyze, there may be mistakes.

Maybe these sound like you. If so, OCR PDF is a good option.

    • You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
    • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
    • You prefer to read.
    • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.
    • You use a screen reader.

Tagged PDF: A Tagged PDF alternative uses tags and elements—such as blockquote, paragraph, and headings—to add meaning to a page. It aids screen reader users with good content structure. 

Maybe these sound like you. If so, Tagged PDF is a good option.
  •  You want to be able to copy, paste, and search text.
  • You want to use text-to-speech and adjust the speed of the speech.
  • You prefer to read.
  • You study on your commute and want to take your study materials with you.
  • You use a screen reader.