Canvas @ YaleStudent Guide Student Help ArticlesAlly for More Accessible Files in Canvas

Ally for More Accessible Files in Canvas

The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has implemented Ally, a service that provides alternative and more accessible versions of files that have been uploaded into Canvas.

Accessing more accessible, alternative formats

Alternative formats are formats that will be more accessible to screen readers (such as OCRed PDF) or which offer different sensory modalities to students who may not read using vision (such as Electronic Braille).

Option 1:

Wherever a file is linked or uploaded in Canvas, there will be a small down arrow icon to the right of the link.

Click on this arrow to reveal three options: “Download,” which will give you the original file; “Preview”

to view the file in the browser; or “Alternative formats,” which are the Ally-produced alternatives.

Choose “Alternative formats” to select the file format you prefer, then click “Download”:


There are three ways to get alternative versions of materials uploaded in the Canvas Files area.

1) From the main Files window, locate the file and navigate to the far right of that row, to access the “Actions” options (3 vertical dots). Open the options menu, and select “Alternative formats”:

2) From the main Files window, select the row where your file’s name appears (don’t click on the file name itself). With the row highlighted, locate and click the Ally “A” icon near the top of the page.

3) When you click on the file name in Files, Canvas opens the file within your browser. At the top of the preview screen, there is an option for “A” with the Ally “A” icon:

This same method applies for files included in Modules, Assignments, Discussions, Announcements, and more: click on the file name or the drop down arrow, and select the “Alternative Formats” option from either the drop down menu or at the top of the file preview screen.

If you discover that an Ally alternative file does not work well with your screen reader, please email with information about the file that is causing problems.