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Alternate Format

What is Alternate Format?

Alternate Format is the process of making information available in an accessible format for individuals with visual and other print-related disabilities. The most common formats we convert material into is PDF, Word, and .Kesi (Kurzweil). This service is available through the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at no cost to students at UIC.


A few important things to keep in mind when requesting Alternate Format Services:

  • An alternate format request form must be filled out for all requests
  • Typical turn-around time for this service is 10 business days from the date the form is received by the DRC
  • Course materials for conversions must be provided to our office in a timely manner. The DRC is not responsible for converting materials that are due on or before the week of receiving materials. Course materials due prior to DRC receipt will be worked on as time allows

If you have any questions or comments about alternate format procedures, you can contact the alternate format team via email at

Student Guide to Alternate Format Heading link

Faculty Guide to Alternate Format Heading link

If a student provides you with a Letter of Accommodation that includes an accommodation for alternate format, you can help facilitate the process of making your course material accessible.

To upload PDFs to Kurzweil: Heading link

Articles/texts published electronically should convert to .kesi (Kurzweil) with no problems as long as they are “readable” meaning you can highlight lines of text by dragging your curser across the page. If you would like to upload documents to Kurzweil, follow these instructions:
  1. Login to your Kurzweil account
  2. To create a folder in Kurzweil, right click on an existing folder (such as “private” or spring_2024) and select “add folder,” name the folder for the course or week (such as bio_203 or w1) NOTE: Kurzweil does not recognize capitals/spaces in titles
  3. Click on the folder you want to upload to (such as bios_110 or w1) so that it is highlighted in an aqua blue color.
  4. Click the orange upload button on the top right corner which will open your computer and you can choose the document you’d like to upload
  5. Opening the file in the pop up window will start the upload into Kurzweil and soon after, a window will pop up to say “upload successful!”
  6. You can read the document as soon as it is fully loaded into Kurzweil and able to be opened
  7. To rename a document, you click on the little white box next to the title and click the white “rename” button on the right side of the screen.
*If you select the “Google Drive, One Drive, or Computer” to upload a document, it will upload to your “recently_opened_files” folder. If this happens, you can create a folder and move the document from recently_opened_files into the new folder.
If when opening a document to Kurzweil you get an error that reads “There is no text available to read on this page,” it likely means the PDF is a scanned PDF (picture) rather than a readable PDF. Trying navigating to the second page of the document (past the cover page, onto a page with written content), if you still get this message, email the alternate format team at so that we can remediate the document and ensure it is compatible with Kurzweil.

Use Kurzweil's Read the Web with Web-Based Content: Heading link

Kurzweil Read the Web is a web extension that operates like the web platform or desktop platform of Kurzweil, but for websites.
Install Read the Web
Please note: the plugin is only compatible with a personal gmail account not your UIC gmail

Watch the Kurzweil tutorial video to learn how Read the Web extension gets installed and can be enabled/disabled on different websites (you click the button like a light switch, to turn it on/off)

Read the web should generally work with websites and if you encounter a URL that ends in .pdf, the red PDF button will appear on the Kurzweil menu and when you select it, you’ll be able to open the PDF on your account within the web version of Kurzweil

Kurzweil Tutorials Heading link

This video walks users through how to access their material on Kurzweil and how to optimize the usability of the program.

This video provides more depth instructions on how to upload material and move material around your account.