Last Updated: 07/01/2020

What is SensusAccess?

SensusAccess is an online document conversion system that transforms text and image-based file types into different formats. Students, staff and faculty can upload files through a web interface and select from a variety of output options, including audio, Braille, or e-text formats. The service can convert text files into alternate format types as well as convert image-based files into text formatted files.

SensusAccess is intended as a self-service solution that complements existing accessibility services at the University of Colorado Boulder. The SensusAccess service was established as a part of the campuswide Accessibility Initiative aimed at fostering an accessible campus environment.

Use SensusAccess services for:

  • Accessibility conversions: Image and PDF files can be converted to more accessible formats (tagged PDFs, Word documents, HTML, etc.)
  • Braille services: Documents can be converted to and from contracted and uncontracted Braille. The documents can be formatted and paginated, and delivered as ready-to-emboss files in a variety of digital Braille formats.
  • Audio services: Files can be converted into plain MP3 files as well as DAISY books, including those with spoken math. MP3 audio versions are created using high-quality, customizable computer generated text-to-speech voices. 
  • E-book services: Documents can be converted into EPUB, EPUB3, EPUB3 with media overlays and Mobi Pocket (Amazon Kindle) e-book formats. Furthermore, EPUB may be converted into Mobi Pocket and vice versa. To accommodate users with low vision, the baseline of the body text in an e-book may be raised to allow for more appropriate text scaling in mainstream e-book readers.

For more information about the available output formats, please reference the conversion matrix

Benefits & Examples

All students, faculty, and staff at the CU Boulder are encouraged to use SensusAccess when creating or reformatting educational or informational documents. Here are a few examples of how SensusAccess can be used:

  • Individuals with alternate format accommodations can convert documents on their own, any time of day. If you receive materials at short notice and do not have time to convert them yourself, the Alternate Format Production and Access Center (AFPAC) can help.
  • Struggling to get through readings? Convert documents to audio files and listen as you read along.
  • Instructors can create an accessible version of course readings formatted as scanned articles or PDFs, using SensusAccess. Learn more about PDF accessibility principles.


This service is provided at no cost.

Who can get it

SensusAccess is available for all faculty, staff and students.

How to use it

Files can be submitted for processing to SensusAccess in two ways:

Submission via the SensusAccess Form

SensusAccess allows you to upload a file, provide a link to a file on the web, or copy and paste plain text. To get started, go to the convert a file page, and follow the steps on the form. When asked to provide your email address, use your email.

Once your file has been processed, you will receive an email with your converted file attached or a link to your converted file. SensusAccess deletes files saved on their servers after 7 calendar days. To avoid having to upload the file again, download your document as soon as it is received.

Submission via Email 

SensusAccess allows you to submit files via email. The email address that you send the file to will vary based on your preferred output type. Information related to the email addresses, as well as instructions for sending the files, are available on the SensusAccess website

Conversion Results

The quality of the file you receive depends on the quality of the original file. For example, if you are converting a well-formatted Word document, the resulting file will be properly rendered into the desired output. On the contrary, scanned documents with smudges, tears in the paper, underlined or skewed text may result in a poor output file. Further, while SensusAccess does a good job converting a variety of input and output types, it should not be used to convert files with tables or complex formulas. Visit CU Boulder’s templates for universally designed syllabus materials page for assistance with creating accessible content.


New to SensusAccess? Need a little refresher? The SensusAccess e-learning course will help you convert material into alternate or accessible formats for yourself or on behalf of others.


Faculty who are looking for assistance with creating accessible content for their courses are encouraged to utilize CU Boulder’s templates for universally designed syllabus materials and other templates and materials on the campus Accessibility Resources page.

If you have questions about SensusAccess or about making course content accessible, please contact the IT Service Center at or call 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone).

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