Topics in this article include:

What is Ally?

Alternative Formats

Accessibility Score

Improving File Accessibility

Creating Accessible Files




What is Ally?

Ally is a tool within myLesley, which creates alternative files that are easier to for all students to use. Ally creates multiple alternative formats including readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy-to-navigate content. You and your students can download these alternative formats anywhere that files are used.


Ally gauges the accessibility of your content and provides tips and tricks for improvements to your content accessibility. Ally also automatically creates alternative versions of your files, allowing students to choose the type of file that best suits their needs. This includes HTML, ePub, electronic braille, and audio (MP3) versions of your files.


For more information, view the video tutorial below:




Alternative Formats

Ally automatically creates alternative formats of your course files based on the original file. Available alternative formats include tagged PDF, HTML, ePub, electronic braille, and audio (MP3).


You and your students may access alternative formats of your files, by selecting the file you wish to access. Hover your mouse over the file name until a chevron appears.

screenshot of chevron next to file name


Click the chevron to open a menu. Select Alternative Formats.

screenshot: select alternative formats


Select a format and click Download.


Your file will download. This may take several minutes.


For more information, see Accessing Alternative Formats of Documents in myLesley.



Accessibility Score

Ally measures the accessibility of your course files and shows you an overall accessibility score for each file. The scores range from Low (red icon) to Perfect (green icon). The higher the score, the fewer the issues.


image: low accessibility score indicator Low: File is not accessible and needs immediate attention.

image: medium accessibility indicator Medium: File is somewhat accessible and could use improvement.

image: high accessibility score indicator High: File is accessible but could be improved.

image: perfect accessibility score indicator Perfect: File is accessible. No improvement needed.


At this time, the following file types are checked for accessibility:

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx)
  • OpenOffice/LibreOffice
  • Uploaded HTML files 


Accessibility scores are determined by the severity of issues in each file. A low score indicates that the file has severe or multiple accessibility issues whereas a high score indicates that the file has minor accessibility issues.



Improving File Accessibility

To improve the accessibility score for your file, click on the score icon next to your file. 

screenshot ally low accessibility score icon


This will show you the overall accessibility score and the biggest contributor to the overall score. 

screenshot of sample Ally score for an untagged PDF


Click on All Issues to see a list of issues with your document.

screenshot of All Issues on sample document


In many cases, instructions are available to help you fix the accessibility score of your file (ex How to tag a PDF). Click the Fix button to learn more about the issue and how to fix it.


A list of common Ally issues and fixes may be found here: Ally Remediation Cheat Sheet.


For more information on Ally see Improve Your File Accessibility with Ally.



Creating Accessible Files

Hoonuit has a great tutorial series to walk you through creating an accessible syllabus using Microsoft Word 2016 and Acrobat Pro DC. Although the example used in the tutorial series is a course syllabus, the skills you learn are transferable to other types of documents. The tutorial series features information on:

  • Titles and subtitles
  • Headings
  • Tables
  • Color, patterns and backgrounds
  • Images
  • Alt text
  • And more


Please note that you will need to log in to Hoonuit using your Lesley username and password in order to view these tutorials: