Alternate Format Toolbox: Everything You Need to Know to Produce Alternate Format

Presented at 10:30am in Denver 4-6 on Monday, November 14, 2022.



  • Susan Kelmer, Alternate Format Production Program Manager, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Christa Miller, Associate Director, Services for Students With Disabilities, Virginia Tech

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 2-day
  • Format: Lab
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Alternate Format Production is a requirement for Disability Services offices on almost every university and college campus. This session will walk you through from request to delivery of alternate format materials for students with print disabilities, with a focus on the tools and methods you will need to do the job right.


There are always new tools and methods for producing alternate format, but all of them rest on a good base of tried-and-true tools, efficient processes, and best practice methods. If you don't have that base, it's going to be hard to produce and track quality alternate format materials for your student.

This two-day, hands-on session will walk you through alternate format production from the student's request and moving through how to acquire, store, track, and deliver files. From there we'll demonstrate how to process files into the format the student needs (e-text, Braille, accessible STEM content, and tactile graphics). There will be extensive time for dedicated practice during both days. Along the way, we'll share tried and true tools that can help streamline the process.

Day One will focus on the student request process, administrative tasks, legalities, and how to process publisher or other PDFs. We will also explore converting PDF to Word format, using a variety of tools. We will end the day by learning to process STEM, primarily math, into accessible Word format.

Day Two will wrap up Word accessibility. We will then provide an overview of how to produce electronic and hard copy Braille, plus tactile graphics. This will include information about production standards, transcription methods, and Nemeth Braille considerations.

In addition to the learning and practice provided in the session, you will receive an electronic copy of Susan's 2022 alternate format production manual, as well as sample forms and other materials that can be adapted for your own use.

This course is intended for beginner and intermediate alternate format producers.


  1. Provision of alternate format is required by law and doesn't conflict with copyright publisher policies.
  2. Consistent, quality production of alternate format is critical for your students' success.
  3. Knowing what tools to use for each step of the alternate format process increases production efficiency.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas


Speaker Bio(s)

Susan Kelmer

Ms. Kelmer has been working with alternate format and accessible technology for more than 20 years in a higher education environment. Currently she works at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Alternate Format Production and Access Center, where alternate format materials for students with print disabilities are produced. She also consults with other departments on campus and other campuses about alternate format and how to produce materials effectively. She has presented at multiple AHG conferences in the last 20 years.

Christa Miller

Christa Miller started at Virginia Tech in 2006. After many years of accessible educational material development and alternative format production, she transitioned to a training-focused role. Her experience includes reading/writing Braille, developing captioning workflows, and working individually with instructors to create accessible content. Today she conducts one-time and semester-long training on accessibility and supervises the creation of accessible media. She also runs accessibility software pilots, collaborates on accessibility initiatives in other departments, and leads bi-annual cohorts of individuals preparing to become certified in accessibility core competencies. She is currently the Associate Director of Services for Students with Disabilities.