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Alternative Formats

Students registered with the Center for Disability & Access (CDA) may be qualified to receive textbooks in an alternative format. Some students may be eligible for full-service accommodations for alternative format conversions, otherwise approved students will have access to technology and training to assist them in converting course materials on their own. Contact your CDA advisor for more information.

Get access to more info and training on accessible media on Canvas! (click here)


Textbook Requests

We want to deliver alternative format materials to students in a timely manner, ideally before the start of class. Approved students may request required course materials, recommended texts, assignments, or other documents approved by CDA.

Requests for materials will be converted on a "first come, first serve" basis. Students should submit requests for alternate formats as soon as materials are announced for a course. (see Making a Request below) There are many students making requests for materials, so there will most likely be a wait to get your materials.

Contact the University Bookstore or your course instructor to find out more information about your course textbooks.


Certification of Ownership

CDA and publishers require students to provide proof that they have purchased or own a copy of the textbook requested. Please provide a receipt of purchase, physical or digital with your request. Your request may not be processed until we have received this.

    • Course assignments, articles, worksheets, and other similar documents do not apply.


Making a Request

Step 1: Verify your eligibility for Alternative Format services

Students requesting for the first time must meet with a CDA advisor prior to making a request to ensure that they are approved to receive materials in an alternate format. Approved students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Center for Disability & AccessAlternative Format Manager as early as possible to discuss alternative format options and to process requests.

Returning students can meet with the Alternative Formats Manager to have requests processed quicker or for other course material support.

Please contact the CDA front desk at (801) 581-5020 to schedule an appointment.


Step 2: Complete and submit request

To make a request, students must fill out the Alternative Format Request Form. All forms and documents related to requests will be provided in an accessible format on request.


Requests for alternative format services must meet the following criteria to be complete:

      1. Student is approved for alternative format services by a CDA advisor.
      2. Student has met with the Alternative Format Manager.
      3. Alternate Format Request Form submitted to CDA with all required information.
      4. Proof of Purchase of text provided.
      5. Hard Copy of textbook submitted (if necessary for scanning).
      6. Student has signed the Alternative Format Agreement.


Formats Available:

    • PDF
      • Many textbooks are available from publishers in PDF. We make a request and wait for the publisher to respond. Some files are available immediately, but some publishers may take weeks to reply. Some requests are denied by the publisher.

        Alternatively, we can make a scan, or give you the tools to create a scanned PDF copy of your book.

    • Word Document
    • Audio book (DAISY, mp3)
      • We can acquire audio books for many books. Many of the come from Learning Ally and Bookshare.
      • Kurzweil 3000 can be used for reading text files or readable PDF's outloud. All students registered with us may requst a free Kurzweil account. The software is a free download online and we will provide training at your request.
    • Large Print
    • Braille (print and electronic)
    • Tactile Graphics

*Some titles may not be available in your requested format. We will do our best to provide the format you request, but may offer other equivalent formats if necessary.


All forms can be submitted in person to the Center for Disability & Access office, or emailed to

If you need assistance with requests, make an appointment with the CDA Alternate Format Manager by contacting our front desk at (801) 581-5020.


Students receiving alternate format services should immediately report any changes in course enrollment or course material requirements to CDA Accessible Media Services as soon as possible if it affects any alternative format requests.


Step 3: Alternative Format Production

We will process your request and convert the material requested. You may inquire about the progress of your textbook at any time by emailing or the Alternative Formats Manager.

If it is necessary for producing an accessible version of your textbook, we can have your book's binding cut off, and the books scanned. This original binding cannot be replaced. At the student's request, we will re-bind the book with a spiral binding before it is returned. Textbooks which have been cut will be held until the end of the semester, after which time we reserve the right to dispose of the textbook.

An agreement has been reached with The University of Utah Campus Store to allow the buy-back of books that have been cut and spiral bound. This only applies to books that would normally be bought back by the bookstore. Returns of cut textbooks is not available.


Step 4: Delivery

Receive your converted material as you selected on the Alternative Formats Request Form. Common methods of delivery are:

For Alternative Formats:

    • E-mail (for files under 20 megabytes)
    • Cloud delivery (Ubox, Google Drive, Dropbox, other)
    • Pickup at CDA office

Students who request delivery by cloud services will receive an invitation by email to a shared folder with the selected service. This shared folder will be used to deliver all alternative format materials applicable. Other arrangements may be made by contacting the Alternate Formats Manager.


Finding Books Online

For eligible students, the Center for Disability & Access may offer an account with Bookshare and Learning Ally. You may inquire with your CDA advisor for more information.

Other eBooks sites:


Captioning Services

Closed captioning (CC)

Closed captioning is a the process of displaying text on a visual display (TV, monitor, etc.) to provide additional or interpretive information. Typically the text is a transcription of the audio portion of a program as it occurs, sometimes including descriptions of non-speech elements.

  • The term "closed" (versus "open") indicates that the captions are not visible until activated by the viewer using a menu or remote.
  • Captions are stored in a captions file (we use .srt) which also includes a time-code for syncing the captions with the video. Many video players will play a captions file with your video.

Open captions

If a video has open captions, the captions are permanently displayed on the video and cannot be turned off.


Captioning Requests

Captioning requests should be made at least 10 days in advance of when the video is needed.

Please send requests for captioning services to:

Chris Green
Assistive Technology Manager
(801) 587-8316


If requesting for a student in a University course, please include:

    • Title(s) of the videos
    • Course name and number
    • Student's name
    • Whether you would like open or closed captions
    • Video file or info on how we can access the video (web link, Canvas info, cloud service)
    • Date the video will be used in the course


If requesting for a University department, please include:

    • Title(s) of the videos
    • Department name and contact name
    • Whether you would like open or closed captions
    • Video file or info on how we can access the video (web link, Canvas info, cloud service)
    • Date the captioned video will be used

For University departments, captioning services from the Center for Disability & Access are provided for a fee. Please contact us for more information.


Audio/Video Transcription Services

We will also accept requests for transcripts of audio and video material.


Captioning Services Delivery:

Delivery of captioned videos or caption files will depend on the project. Most are delivered by one of the following:

    • Kaltura video server (for University course videos)
    • Amara web captioning service (For YouTube videos)
    • MediaSpace
    • Digital file (cloud delivery or pickup)



For YouTube videos hosted on an account other than your own, we will use to play the captions over the video. In some cases it is possible to contact the owner of the channel and have them update the video with the caption file.

If you are the owner of the YouTube account where the video is posted, you can easily upload the caption files. See our help page on Canvas for more information: 



Questions or comments? Contact us:

Chris Green
Alternative Format Manager
Phone: 801-587-8316


Center for Disability & Access
(801) 581-5020

Last Updated: 1/24/18