Ally: File Transformer

This service is for faculty, staff, and students.

What is Ally?

Ally is a Canvas integration that supports digital accessibility. Ally has two separate and distinct features 1) File Transformer and 2) Accessibility Checker. This article discusses the File Transformer.

File Transformer

The Ally File Transformer is automatically enabled in all Canvas courses. With this tool, Canvas users can easily download alternative formats of instructor content directly from a course. Alternative formats provide greater opportunity for everyone to access the information they need in the way they need or want it. With alternative formats all students can meet the same learning objectives using resources that are built to target the needs of the individual student. For example, Ally creates audio and electronic braille alternatives for students with hearing or vision impairments. But alternative formats aren't just for a select group of students, they can benefit everyone. If eye strain is a problem because there is a lot of course material to read, listen to an audio format of the learning materials instead. Or if the content is in a different language, listen to the audio file and follow along in the ePub.

Transformer Alternative Formats

File formats for Ally Transformer

Students choose the format, or formats, that best suit their learning needs and devices.

  • OCRed PDF Makes scanned documents searchable and more readable and reduces file size.
  • Tagged PDF Allows you to open DOC or PPT files without Microsoft ® Office. Improves use with assistive technology and helps reduce bandwidth.
  • HTML Provides a mobile-friendly responsive version for easier reading in browser and mobile devices.
  • Audio MP3 version for listening on personal devices, or when you want to take a break from reading.
  • Electronic braille BRF version for tactile reading on electronic braille displays
  • ePub For reading and annotating as an e-book on an iPad or other e-book reader.
  • Beeline Reader Enhanced version for faster and more focused on-screen reading.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: By downloading an alternative format, you agree with the terms of service. Ally licensing only allows for personal use of transformed files. They cannot be reuploaded to a Canvas site or otherwise shared. Select the Terms of Use link in the download panel to learn more:

Ally Terms of Use

Accessing File Transformer

Canvas Syllabus, Announcements, Pages, Quizzes, Discussions

  1. Open a Canvas page and look for the Download Alternative Formats icon next to the title.
    alternative formats icon
  2. This will bring up the selection window for alternative formats. Not all alternative formats are available for all content.
    Ally icon in Canvas pages
  3.  Make your selection, review the Terms of Use, and click Download.

Canvas Files

  1. Clicking on the download icon for a file shared in Canvas will give the option to preview or download the file or to select an alternative format.
  2. Select Alternative formats, choose the format from the list, and download.

download alternative file format

Learn More About Alternative Formats

To report a problem or receive additional troubleshooting, please contact the Tech Desk
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Article ID: 131365
Thu 4/8/21 8:49 AM
Wed 11/15/23 12:58 PM

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From here you can find information on reaching Canvas' 24/7 dedicated support, or fill out our form to receive assistance from our Canvas technicians when they are available,