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Alternative formatting for Print Disabilities

What is Alternative formatting?

Students with print disabilities have difficulty in reading conventional resources (e.g. printed books). They require an ‘alternative format’ or alternative mode of access to this material. Usually alternative format involves audio access (e.g. text-to-speech software). Alternative formatting may also involve large print for visually impaired students or touch ( Braille-display).

Like all students, those with a print disability need access to different types of printed material including:

  • Books e.g. core texts,
  • Journal Articles,
  • Specific Lecture Notes / Hand-outs.


Alternative Formatting Process

A number of stakeholders have a part to play in ensuring the alternative formatting process goes smoothly:

  • the lecturer,
  • the library,
  • the Disability Service,
  • the student,
  • the publisher.


(for more in depth information on each stage of the process see Alternative Formatting Flow Chart (Word, 93kb).

alt formattiong flow chart showing the work flow. For more information see the flow chart document

  • The student registers with the Disability Service , and the need for alternative format provision is noted.
  • The Lecturer sends a clear, annotated reading list to the library, the student and the Disability Service in good time.
  • The student confirms priorities (based on key texts, and essay titles).


  • The Subject librarian seeks electronic copies of resources on the reading list.

If found, use / edit. If no copy is found:

  • the Subject Librarian contacts the publisher and requests an electronic copy (see appendix in alt formatting report for template).

If received, use / edit. If no copy is received:

  • the Disability Service purchases a print copy to be scanned and formatted. Note this step is time consuming and costly and should only occur when all other options have been exhausted.

Last updated 22 September 2016 by Trinity Inclusive Curriculum (Email).