Creating Accessible Documents and Alternate Formats

Accessible Documents

Accessible documents create a more inclusive learning environment by making content usable by all students regardless of ability.

Some strategies to use when making documents accessible include:

  • Using a larger sans serif font such as 12-point Verdana
  • Ensuring a high contrast
  • Using built in styles to control formatting
  • Nesting headers

Alternative Format

Also referred to as conversion ready format, alternative format increases the ease of access to materials. This could be providing a printed textbook in a digital format, converting a PDF document into braille, creating audio files of MS Word documents, or converting a PowerPoint presentation into plain text.

Types of Alternative Format

Large Print

This is usually specific to the individual situation. Large print format can be created in both print and digital. Typically a larger font is used such as 24-point or higher and may include increased line and character spacing as well as a reduced amount of text on a single page.

Electronic Documents

There are many different kinds of electronic document formats. Formats such as plain text, MS Word/Excel/PowerPoint, and PDF are the most common. Electronic documents can be created to be used with specific Assistive Technology such as Kurzweil.

Audio Files

An auditory representation of print or digital media, audio files can be very useful to support a varying degree of accommodations.


A code used by people who are blind or have low vision to read and write. It is a tactile system through which letters, words, numbers, and symbols are represented using raised dots. Braille is not a separate language. In fact, there are different braille codes for different languages and different levels or braille code.


Live and closed captioning can also be considered an alternative format. Captioning creates a textual representation of auditory material.

For more information on captioning please see the closed captioning page.

Descriptive Video

A narration of key visual elements such as actions, characters, locations, costumes, and sets of video material. This narration does not interfere with dialogue or sound effects.

Creating Accessible Documents

Credit: Adam Luyk - Accessible Media Production Graduate '18


Have Questions, Need Assistance, or Want to Make a Request?

If you have questions or need assistance with creating accessible documents please contact the Accessible Learning Services Technician by email at alstechnician [at] (alstechnician[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca) or by phone at (905) 575-1212 ex 3554.

Accessible Learning Services provides alternative format for course content and textbooks in support of student accommodations as well as content on Mohawk College’s website. To access alternative format support please submit a request for alternative format form.