Source: AIM-VA,

The primary purpose of accessible formats is to provide alternate versions of print-based books that include features that meet the individual learning needs of unique students such as synchronized audio, enlarged text, and embossed paper. More specifically, accessible formats allow an alternate version that functions in much the same way as a print-based textbook. For example, a traditional recording of a book in audio does not allow users to access its content efficiently; these recordings must use cumbersome fast-forward and rewind functions, leading to hit-or-miss access to content. Formats with built in accessibility features eliminate this and other content-access difficulties. Another advantage of an accessible formatted version of a work is that the content is available through the use of a computer; this allows users to be free of many physical constraints involved in accessing print-based content, such as lifting and holding a book and turning its pages.

Click on the tabs below to learn more about the features of each of the formats.

Audio Recording

Recorded Audio Books are human voice recordings that are provided to AIM-DE students through Learning Ally, formerly known as RFB&D. While most of the books are audio only (Classic Audio), a select number of books have been converted to the VOICEtext format, which provides highlighted text to be followed while the audio is played. The VOICEtext format will use either a human narrator or a synthetic voice depending on what is available for a particular book.

» Listen to a Sample Audiobook

Accessibility Features

  • Learning Ally books are read by content matter specialists and are designed to be clear and understandable, with students who have disabilities in mind.
  • Speed controls allow students to speed up or slow down the rate at which the book is read.
  • Students can easily click to navigate by pages, chapters or sections as well as add their own digital bookmarks.
  • Content is "Reflowable", meaning the text is optimized to fit the page regardless of font size.
  • For audio recordings in the “VOICEtext” format, the text will be highlighted as it is read which reinforces word recognition, improves fluency, builds vocabulary and develops decoding skills.

Works With:

  • Free Learning Ally Audio App (IOS and Android)
  • Free software from Learning Ally called ReadHear by gh
  • DAISY Devices (Cost depends on device; device can be ordered through Learning Ally)

Note: If a book is not available at Learning Ally, AIM-DE can create a series of mp3 files and burn them to CD or offer them as downloads. The files can be played on any device that supports mp3 playback. However, these files are only offered using a synthetic voice, and there is no text to follow along with as the book is read.


Braille is a series of raised dots evenly arranged in quadrangular letter spaces or cells. The configuration of dots can be read with the fingertips by people who are vision impaired. Braille materials are provided by the Division for the Visually Impaired.
Accessibility Features

  • Braille is a unique written language that may be the most accessible option of reading and writing for students who are blind or have a significant visual impairment.

Works With:

  • Students who have been trained in the use of Braille.

Digital Talking Book (DTB) / DAISY

A Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Talking Book (DTB) is a digital or human voice recording of the full electronic text with the capability to navigate and bookmark sections of the book. A DAISY talking book is made up of a series of files linked together. A computerized text DAISY book can be read using refreshable Braille display or screen-reading software, printed as Braille book on paper, converted to a talking book using synthesized voice or a human narration, and also printed on paper as large print book. In addition, it can be read as large print text on computer screen (

» Download DAISY Sample Zip file icon.

Accessibility Features

  • Text-to-speech capabilities allow the text to be read aloud
  • Highlights text as it is read for improved comprehension
  • Built in bookmarks and electronic navigation
  • Images are tagged with alternate text descriptions that can be read aloud. (Older Bookshare DAISY files did not contain graphics. Newer Bookshare DAISY files and DAISY files converted from NIMAS will have graphics with alternative text that can be read aloud.)
  • Page numbers of the DAISY file correspond to the page numbers of the printed text.
  • Content is “Reflowable”, meaning the text is optimized to fit the page regardless of font size.
  • Most DAISY readers will have a series of additional beneficial features such as:
    • Dictionaries
    • Bibliographers
    • Contrast and color: Boost the contrast with various built-in color variations
    • Built-in graphic organizers
    • Pronunciation assistance
    • Highlighting of Digital Text for notes
    • Web access

Note: To open a DAISY book use  a specialized DAISY reader to open the (.opf) file.

Works With:

A more comprehensive list of DAISY compatible hardware and software can be found on DAISYpedia or in the Bookshare Help Center

Large Print

Large print is defined as print for text passages that is larger than the commonly used print and font sizes from eight to twelve points in size. Large Print is created by AIM-DE and available on a first-come, first served basis.

Accessibility Features

  • Most large print books on black and white, spiral bound, 11 x 14.5 inch paper.
  • Many large print books come in multiple volumes. No volume is greater than 270 pages.
  • For most textbooks, large print will be 18 point font, unless otherwise specified.

Works With:

  • Students who need larger text

PDF - Fully Accessible

A Fully Accessible PDF is a PDF that is converted directly from a structured Word document. These documents look exactly like Word documents and are annotatable, readable by a computer, and are optimized by adding additional accessibility features to the file, like “tags”. A tag contains information such as header locations, hyperlinks, and alternative text descriptions for graphics. This allows the PDF documents to be bookmarked and navigated more easily, and it provides detailed information about images in the text.

» Download PDF - Fully Accessible Sample This is a PDF document.

Accessibility Features

  • Compatible with text-to-speech programs
  • Includes content related graphics which are programmed with alternate text descriptions that can be read aloud.
  • Font style matches the original text (i.e., bold, italics, underline).
  • Page numbers correspond to the page numbers of the printed text.
  • Footnotes are positioned within text to provide greater understanding of content.
  • PDFs can be opened by using a variety of programs on the computer as well as many mobile devices.
  • Content is “Reflowable”, meaning the text is optimized to fit the page regardless of font size.
  • Most PDF readers will have a series of additional beneficial features such as:
    • Highlights text as it is read for improved comprehension
    • Contains note taking features like in text highlighting and commenting
    • Bookmarking and electronic navigation

Works With: