Alternative formats

Using your phone for alternative formats

Copyright law entitles disabled persons to make copies of works for personal use without getting the permission of the rights holder. This includes scanning a textbook and converting it into an electronic format. But how do you go about it?

Use a smart phone or tablet then do one of the following:

  • Take a photograph of the page then…
  • Read the text by zooming in on the photo.
  • Use your browser to go to and follow the process for uploading a file. Follow the prompts to get your preferred format emailed back to you.
  • Use OfficeLens or a similar free app to turn the picture of text into actual editable . Then magnify it by changing the font size or using inbuilt zoom in the reading software or your device.
  • Use a magnification app like ClaroMagX (iOS) or Magnifier (Android) to magnify the text while you read it.
  • Insert the photo of the text into a OneNote On a PC you can right click over the image and select Alt Text for editable text. On a phone or tablet you might need to wait a while until the processing has taken place but eventually you will get the option to CopyText when you touch the image. This gives editable text you can paste into OneNote or any other application. Use font options or zoom to get it the size you need.
  • Use a scanner attached to a laptop/desktop to scan an image of the text. Magnify this and read on the screen or use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to turn it into text. See note on OneNote on a PC above.

Once you have a digital version of the text you may want to use text to speech to listen to it. If so, these could be good options for you: on your phone/tablet listen to the text using the inbuilt text to speech functionality in the accessibility settings. In Word add Speak Selected Text to the Quick Access Toolbar. Or use a tool like Orato, Balabolka or DSpeech to get it read to you.

Need to change colours? Use a free third party tool like ssOverlay to create a coloured filter over the entire screen. Or change the background colour in Word. In Acrobat Reader use the Acrobat accessibility options to change the colour of a PDF.

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