SensusAccess is an OIT-supported tool that allows anyone with an email address to upload a document and have it converted to an alternate document format. The result is delivered to your email inbox.

Please review the OIT SensusAccess page for more in-depth information about this resource.

This page reviews how to use SensusAccess as an accessibility resource. There is also information available for converting document formats with SensusAccess.

SensusAccess and Accessibility

Reasons to Use SensusAccess

There are many reasons why someone may want to use SensusAccess to convert a document to a different format. For someone with a disability, SensusAccess can provide options to convert documents into alternate formats that may be more accessible for the user. Below are a few examples where SensusAccess can help to address an accessibility barrier:  

  • A screen reader user uses SensusAccess to convert a PDF document into a Word format, as Word formats are often more compatible with screen reader technology. 
  • A student with a learning disability converts an article into an audio file. This allows them to read the print format of the article and listen to the audio file at the same time.

Please note that SensusAccess is not a replacement for alternate format accommodations through the Disability Services Office. SensusAccess is an additional resource that all CU students, faculty, and staff can use however best fits their personal needs.

Format Options

CU Boulder students, faculty, and staff can access four types of conversion services through SensusAccess: Braille, Audio, E-Book, and Accessibility. Below is a link to more in-depth information about each service and the best uses for each format type:

Disclaimer: Since the SensusAccess process is automated, the converted format may not be 100% accurate. Additionally, the quality of the original format can impact the quality of the converted format. It is recommended that you review the converted format for accuracy and fix any errors resulting from the conversion.

Converting Images of Text to Digital Text

SensusAccess offers users the option to convert an image of text to digital text using optical character recognition (OCR). OCR uses a computer algorithm to convert images into specific letters and words. 

Images of text present readable information within an image (e.g., an image of a table, a photo of a quote, or a scanned image of a news article). Images of text are not accessible to all readers, including individuals using screen readers, screen magnifiers, and text-to-speech software. Text contained in an image cannot be selected, copied, or edited.  When an image of text is increased in size, the clarity of the text degrades. 

Digital text (also referred to as “genuine text” by the W3C) is not contained within an image and allows for greater accessibility. Digital text can be selected, copied, edited, and resized without loss of quality, and can also be accessed by assistive technology.