Using SensusAccess Document Conversion in ELMS-Canvas

In this article

SensusAccess is an online document conversion system that transforms text and image-based file types into different formats. Users can upload files through either the Web interface or ELMS-Canvas and select from a variety of output options, including audio, Braille or e-text formats. ELMS-Canvas integration allows faculty and students to convert documents in their course files.

The SensusAccess platform can convert text files into alternate text file types, as well as convert image-based files into text-formatted files. MP3 audio versions are created using high-quality text-to-speech voices. Learn more about the available SensusAccess Conversion Options from SensusAccess.

Notification of a completed conversion is made via e-mail. The SensusAccess platform will only support requests from individuals using a valid University of Maryland e-mail address. The e-mail notification will contain the converted file or a hyperlink to download the specific file. The SensusAccess platform removes processed files after seven days.

Confidential data and copyrights

SensusAccess users must only use this service to convert files with data listed as Low (Level 1) in the University of Maryland Data Classification Standard. This service cannot be used for documents containing data protected under FERPA.

All copyright provisions apply to the use of the SensusAccess service. Individuals submitting files for conversion must have appropriate copyright permission to upload materials to SensusAccess (i.e., you own the copyright, you are using the material under Fair Use or the disabilities provisions of copyright law). NOTE: The resulting file likely has the same copyright restrictions as the original. Direct questions about c opyrights to


Best practices

The quality of a file generated by SensusAccess depends on the quality of the original document. For instance, if you upload a poorly scanned image file for conversion to a text format, the resulting text document may include recognition errors in the output file.

SensusAccess may add enhancements for navigation if the original file contains the appropriate semantic markup. However, a MS Word document containing the heading style markup for chapters (e.g., Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) will convert into a more usable DAISY or ePub format with the relevant chapter navigation elements. Creating SensusAccess Accessible Microsoft Word Documents will support the conversion for more accessible documents in several formats.

Review SensusAccess Conversion Best Practices to identify simple methods to prepare the file before converting in order to achieve a high-quality output.


Training and support

The SensusAccess e-learning course is intended for students, staff, faculty and others who are converting material into alternate formats such as audio books, e-books, digital large-print and Braille. The course also covers how SensusAccess can be used to improve the accessibility of documents. If you have any questions, need support or would like to provide feedback regarding the SensusAccess system, please email


Enabling ELMS-Canvas integration

Before using the ELMS-Canvas integration the first time, Instructors will need to enable SensusAccess. Use this method to transform files that already exist within your ELMS-Canvas course space.

  1. Click the Settings link.
  2. Click the Navigation tab.
  3. Locate the SensusAccess link at the bottom of the list. Drag and drop the link above the text (or click the dots to Enable).
    Click SensusAccess link
  4. Select the Save button at the bottom of the page.


Converting files in ELMS-Canvas

  1. From your course space, select SensusAccess from the navigation menu.
  2. Use the drop-down File selection menu to select a file to convert. Select a file name from the populated list of files that exist in this course space.
    Select a fie from the file selection drop down
  3. Select the type of file conversion you would like (text-based conversions are located under the Accessibility conversion button).
    Select the type of file conversion
  4. Choose the file type to convert to.
  5. Select Campus email under Delivery method.
    Select campus email
  6. Check your University of Maryland email for an attachment or link to the converted file. (Large files may take longer to convert.)
    NOTE: You will need to upload the newly converted file into the ELMS-Canvas space after document conversion. For help with this step, see Upload Files to ELMS-Canvas for Instructors.

For more information about using SensusAccess, see: