Ally: Student Quick Start to Alternative Formats

This service is for students.

How do you prefer to engage with digital learning content? Do you read on your phone or tablet, use a screen reader, like to annotate and highlight, or listen to an audio version? Ally by Blackboard is a tool in Canvas that supports diverse students with unique learning abilities. Ally automatically generates “alternative formats” from original course files and makes them available for download so that you can engage with course content in a way that works best for you. With Ally, you can choose to view course files in an HTML format for improved reading on mobile phones, electronic Braille if you are visually impaired, and can download files in an audio version for learning on the go. 

down arrow iconAlternative Formats

Use the Ally alternative formats feature to view your course files in different formats to help you learn better.


  • Next to the name of each course file you will find a down arrow.
  • Click on this arrow and select alternative formats to see your options.

accessing alternative formats




  • The file may take a few minutes to download.
  • Remember, the quality of the alternative formats can depend on the original, so check the original file if something doesn’t look right
  • In addition to the down arrow, if the files option is available in your course menu or a file is added to a module, you can open a file and find Ally download alternative formats in the bar at the top.

alternative format options

To report a problem or receive additional troubleshooting, please contact the Tech Desk
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Article ID: 113780
Thu 8/13/20 1:50 PM
Sat 11/4/23 9:19 AM

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The Ally tool within Canvas courses creates alternative files that are easier to use by all students. Ally works within your online course so it's available right where you need it.

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