Electronic Text (E-Text)

Messiah University students with low-vision or text-related reading impairments benefit by using electronic text (e-text).  When electronic text is not available through other resources, the Office of Academic Accessibility can scan the student's textbook and convert it to computer-readable text. We currently are able to offer about 200 required texts each semester to our students in this alternative format.  Specific details about the text conversion process are found at the link on the right.

E-text allows students to use the search function to locate keywords or a specific chapter or page number. It allows students to view an exact image (although in black & white) of all the pages in a book while also listening to the text being read by the computer. Text is read by a simple screen reader, some of which are available for free download over the Internet.

Specific Procedures for Using E-Text

Getting your text in E-Text format:

  1. Meet with the Office of Academic Accessibility staff to determine eligibility.  Approved students can provide a list of books they would like to have in an alternate format.  Eligible students must sign and return the Alternate Text Agreement  (see links at left) before e-texts can be provided.
  2. Students are required to show evidence of purchase of a textbook. Copyright laws allow the production of alternate formats for individuals with disabilities, but those making copies must be sure students "own" their copy purchased legitimately. Making additional copies is prohibited. See the Alternate Text Agreement.


Installing the software:                                                              

  1. Download and "install" your choice of screen reader on your computer:   For PC users, Natural Reader (free) is a good choice. Purchased screen readers will have more features and capabilities and may be worth the investment for students.  MAC users should have VoiceOver already installed.
  2. After you have installed the screen reader, double-click on the icon to run it.


Reading the text:

  1. You will receive E-text files via Google Drive. An initial email will be sent to you, open this email and click request file and wait for permission to be granted.  Then a follow-up permission-granted email will be sent allowing the file to be opened and downloaded.
  2. Follow the directions for the screen reader you have chosen by downloading or pasting the text into the screen reader.


Students who have trouble with this process should contact the Office of Academic Accessibility for assistance at extension 5382.