Alternate Format Tests

As an instructor, you may receive a request from Student Accessibility Services for an electronic, accessible format of an upcoming test/exam.

The ideal format would be Word, however, if this is not available, PDF will work fine as long as there have not been too many security settings applied and the PDF is “tag-able”.

The SAS request will simply state: request for an exam in a Word document format.  This is because there are various programs that SAS uses to make exams accessible to students.  Here are the possibilities of formatting changes SAS may make:

  • Large Print – SAS may need to create a test/exam in larger print; sometimes enlarging on the photocopier is not sufficient so the font is enlarged from the source document. SAS will work hard to ensure that formatting is not impacted by this but please be aware that some minor changes may occur (these will not affect the test/exam content).
  • PDF Tagging – PDF’s will usually need to be “re-tagged” – tagging is the reading order of the document material. SAS strives to ensure that students who are using screen reading or text-to-speech software will have the same experience reading a test as any other student. The document and its content will have no noticeable changes.
  • Kesi Conversion – The most commonly used assistive technology is Kurzweil 3000 (text-to-speech technology) and this requires a specific file format referred to as Kesi (.kes). While converting documents to Kesi, SAS will ensure that the reading order is more intuitive (similar to tagging in a PDF) and will adjust the “underlying text” – this means that any symbols or formulas that will not be recognized by Kurzweil will be adjusted so that it reads everything as naturally as possible. A SAS staff person may be in contact with you if they are unsure of how content is to be pronounced.

*SAS will not retain an electronic version once the test/exam is complete – all formats will be deleted*

A request for an electronic copy will only mention the number of students who require an assistive technology.  Please keep in mind that there may be other students writing this test/exam who do not require the use of an assistive technology. If you are unsure of how many students in total will be writing with the SAS Exam Centre, please do not hesitate to contact us at or 204-474-6213. SAS can print off copies as needed for students writing in the SAS Exam Centre so you do not need to worry about delivering them yourself (if there are specific printing instructions, please let us know).

If you have any questions or concerns about any part of this process, do not hesitate to contact the SAS Exam Centre at or the SAS Assistive Technologist at