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How do I download files in alternative formats using Moodle?

If you have ever found content in your Moodle courses that you wanted in an alternative format? For example, have you ever wanted to listen to a document instead of read it?

You can now access these alternative formats by simply clicking on the ‘A and down arrow’ icon Ally Alternative Format Iconwhich is next to the resource in Moodle. Once clicked you’ll be given the option of what format you want to download – read on for more details. 

If you need any assistance with getting a file in an alternative format, please do email us at digitalservices@brookes.ac.uk.

Student Guide: Downloading Moodle files in alternative formats

Who can use Alternative Formats Ally?

All Moodle users can use the Alternative Formats icon to download files in different formats. When your instructor adds a File or Folder resource to Moodle, the Alternative Formats Ally icon will be automatically added, which all users can see.

Which icon is for Alternative Formats Ally?

The Stylised ‘A’ Icon with a downward facing arrow to the right is for Alternative Formats.

Document with the Ally Alternative Format Icon indicated by with the words 'Alternative Formats' written above in a speech bubble. The icon is a stylised capital A with a down arrow in black.
Figure 1. When a file resource, like a Document, is uploaded the Alternative Formats Ally ‘A’ icon appears automatically.


Clicking on this icon allows you to download alternative versions of a File resource. For example, if an instructor uploads a Word document to Moodle, Ally provides the opportunity to download it in other formats right from the course screen.

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What files can be converted?

Alternative Formats Ally provides alternative formats for these file types:

  • PDF files
  • Microsoft Word files
  • Microsoft Powerpoint files
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice files
  • Uploaded HTML files

What alternative formats can I download?

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) version – this allows screen readers to ‘see’ scanned documents.
  • Tagged PDF (currently for Word, Powerpoint and OpenOffice/LibreOffice files) – this is a structured PDF for improved use with assistive technology.
  • Mobile-friendly HTML – for viewing in a browser and on mobile devices.
  • Audio – an MP3 file for listening.
  • ePub (ePublication) – this creates an ebook for reading on an iPad or other ebook reader.
  • Electronic Braille – this is compatible with electronic Braille displays.
  • BeeLine Reader -adds a colour gradient to text to help you read faster and more accurately.

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How do I download the alternative format?

Step 1

For all accepted file types, the Alternative Formats Ally icon will appear.

Ally Alternative Format Icon

Step 2

When you click on the Alternative Formats icon, a list of available formats will appear. Select the format you want and click ‘Download’.

Screenshot of the dropdown menu that will appear once you click on the Alternative Formats 'A' icon.
Figure 2. The list of available alternative formats, based on the original file type.


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Updated on February 21, 2022

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