Alternate Format Text

Alternate format text requests are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on an individual’s disability documentation or explanation of the functional limitations of a disability. CDS determines and coordinates reasonable alternate format accommodations to ensure materials are accessible to students with disabilities.

Requesting textbooks in an alternate format can be a lengthy process. Alternate format text may include e-text, audio, large print, braille, or other format. We will work to get the text in the format that works best for you.

Students are encouraged to contact their course instructor or the College of Charleston Bookstore at least four (4) weeks before the class begins to obtain important information about their textbook(s), such as title, author, publisher, edition, and ISBN number.  If a textbook is not readily available in an alternate format, students will need to bring your textbook to the CDS office so we may consider, with the publisher’s permission, cutting the binding, scanning the book, and converting it into an electronic format.

Please follow these steps when requesting alternate format text:

  • Step 1: See whether you can purchase or rent your book as an e-text, audio book, or other alternate format text that will work best for you. If it is available in another format, consider purchasing or renting the alternate format instead of the printed version.
  • Step 3: For a textbook not found in an alternate format (a resource listed above), you must complete and submit an Alternate Format Text Request Form to the Center for Disability Services. 

Please download this Alternate Format Text Request Form, fill it out, save it to your computer, and send it to via email.

  • Step 4: Students who request alternate format text must also submit proof of purchase of the books. Books can be purchased from the bookstore, online vendors, or from other people. You may show proof of purchase in the following ways:
    • Digital purchase/rental receipt
    • Scan/copy of physical purchase/rental receipt
    • Bringing the hard copy into the Center for Disability Services

                      The first two options can be emailed to If you are bringing the hard copy in, you may stop by any weekday between 8:30am-5:00pm.

  • Step 5: After the completed Alternate Format Text Request Form is received by CDS, it will be processed. You will receive an email letting you know when your alternate text requests have been completed.

You have your alternate format text. Now what?

The Center for Disability Services offers a variety of text-to-speech software programs (listed below) that you can use to access your textbooks. Our primary program, Read & Write, allows you to have your textbook read aloud, get the definitions of words, make and extract highlights, and much more! To get a copy of Read & Write on your computer, please contact us at You can also visit the Student Instructional Technology Services tutorials page for Read & Write download instructions, video tutorials, quick reference cards on the software.

Alternate Format Text-to-Speech Options:


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Read & Write

Read&Write is a customizable toolbar that integrates reading, writing, studying, and research support tools with common applications. Some features include Text To Speech with Dual Synchronized Highlighting, Highlighting, Talking Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Vocabulary Tool, Study Skills tools to capture highlights and OCR capabilities.

We have licenses to provide students for both Mac and Windows.


Voice Dream Reader

Voice Dream Reader is the world’s most accessible reading tool. With advanced text-to-speech and a highly configurable screen layout, it can be tailored to suit every reading style from completely auditory to completely visual, plus synchronized combination of both.


Natural Reader

Natural Reader is a software that can easily be downloaded onto your computer. Listen to PDF files, webpages, e-books, e-textbooks, office documents and even printed books.


Windows Narrator

Hear text read aloud with Windows built in text-to-speech feature called Narrator.


apple logo

Apple Text-to-Speech

Apple products give you the option to hear text read aloud using their built in text-to-speech feature in Macs and Speak Selection in iOS devices.